Emotional advertising and fear appeals…

In advertising there are two appeals that marketers generally take; factual appeals and fear appeals. Fear appeals are most effective in communicating a message to younger less educated individuals. “Fear appeals have been thought of as messages that attempt to achieve opinion change” (Dillard J, 1994).

Examples of fear appeals and their messages include:

Smokingad4 (Tobacco Helpline, 2015)

Smoking is bad and has harmful effects on real people.

germs soap (Alex, 2011)

Use soap when you wash your hands because we don’t want to spread bugs onto things that are precious to us.

drink driving (Pixgood.com, 2014)

The horrific effects of a real life story of drink driving

cholesterol (Dach. J, 2015)

Get your cholesterol tested regularly at the doctors to avoid ending up in the morgue.

Fear appeal in road safety advertising

The instance of road safety is the primary issue I would like to focus on, as I have personally been affected by these appeals. As a young driver I was given a road safety course in high school. This course focused on invoking fear appeal amongst us young drivers. Methods used to create this fear included allowing us to sit in a truck and look in the mirrors to see how large their blind spots are, watching driving videos about driver distraction and the tragic consequences, and having guest speakers talk about personal real life stories of lost loved ones due to speeding, driver fatigue and drink driving. An example of a similar advertisement warning us against driver distraction is featured below.

These appeals relate to advertising as marketers draw upon the same appeals through expressing them in advertisements for the target audience to see. When effective, the fear elicited has a strong impact and a positive effect on society. The main objective of the fear appeal in emotional advertising is that “persuasion will follow from a state of fright” (Dillard J, 1994).

I feel that fear appeal has a highly effective impact on young Individuals as it shows them the reality of the consequences they face when making poor decisions such as smoking, drink driving, and taking drugs.


Dillard. J, 1994, ‘Rethinking the Study of Fear Appeals: An Emotional Perspective’, Communication Theory, Vol. 4, no.4, pp. 295-323.

Schiffman, L, O’Cass, A, Paladino, A, Carlsom, J, 2014, Consumer Behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW, pp.306-307.

nick1111341;s channel, 2009, PSA Texting while Driving U.K Ad, 25 August 2009, YouTubs, viewed 8 May 2015 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0LCmStIw9E&list=PL3F063BF48F794C37&gt;

Tobacco Helpline, 2015, Dont tell people smoking is bad show them, image, Tobacco Helpline, viewed 8 May 2015, < http://trytostopnh.org/media/tips/>

Dach. J, 2015, which would you rather have, a cholesterol test or a final exam?, image, Jeffrey Dach MD, viewed 8 May 2015, < http://jeffreydachmd.com/2014/05/art-curb-side-cholesterol-consult-jeffrey-dach-md/>

Pixgood.com, 2014, Jacqui Saburido Face Transplant,image, Pixgood.com, viewed 8 May 2015, < http://pixgood.com/jacqui-saburido-face-transplant.html>

Alex, 2011,Just liquid soap, If you aren’t totally clean, you are filthy, image, The world of creative advertising, viewed 8 May 2015, < http://creativeadvertisingworld.com/just-liquid-soapiif-you-aren%E2%80%99t-totally-clean-you-are-filthy/>


The Advantages Of Qualitative Research In Consumer Research….

qualitative research

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is “research based on describing markets in a way that captures their meaning and significance, typically generated by in depth interviews and group discussions” (Schiffman et al. 2014, p.687). It is a commonly used research approach in marketing as it is relatively inexpensive, time friendly, and can be tailored to gain insight on the attitudes and expectations of consumers. But what gives it a major advantage over other research methods in consumer research?

Consumer research is based on consumers behavior when engaging in purchase activities. It focuses strongly on the way consumers feel about situations, processes they take, and their preferences when engaging in purchase activities. Qualitative research is effective at tapping into the consumers minds and presenting information in a practical relatable way.

The Research Technique

Whilst qualitative research has some limitations, it provides a multitude of  advantages to marketers. This research technique is most effective as issues relating to consumers can be explored in detail and in depth rather than through analyzing numbers. Research is commonly not restricted to specific questions and may be altered and re directed by the researcher at any time which results in richer data. Qualitative research is based on human experience, of which is highly relatable to consumer research.

Examples of advantages of focus groups in particular are that they; “Do not discriminate against people who cannot read or write, Can encourage participation from those who are reluctant to be interviewed on their own (such as those intimidated by the formality and isolation of a one to one interview), [and] Can encourage contributions from people who feel they have nothing to say or who are deemed “unresponsive patients” (but engage in the discussion generated by other group members)” (Kitzinger J, 1995). Through such unstructured research techniques often subjects or topics of interest are uncovered that other forms of research do not expose. Qualitative research findings can be transferred amongst settings which is valuable and relatable to many consumer situations.

Types of Qualitative Research

There are various research methods that are commonly used; Ethnography, observation, documentary analysis, interviews, case studies, and focus groups to name a few.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of the research technique here is an example of how focus groups and interviews work through researching consumers attitudes towards the iphone.

Why Qualitative Research Is Effective In Consumer Research

Qualitative research is most effective in consumer research as it allows researchers to tune into the views and attitudes of consumers in a real life context. I know that there would be no way that anyone could tune into my attitudes and consumer habits without engaging in a conversation with me or physically experiencing the scenario with me, of which are both examples of qualitative research. They would have to engage in focus groups, interviews, or even in ethnography to establish a strong understanding of my consumer habits and the meaning behind them.

I believe consumer behavior can not be effectively measured or understood through the use of numeric data and analysis, This is why qualitative research is most effective.


WebMD LLC, 2015, Presenting and Evaluating Qualitative Research, Medscape, viewed 6 May 2015, <http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/731165_3>

Schiffman, L, O’Cass, A, Paladino, A, Carlsom, J, 2014, Consumer Behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW, p.687.

J, 2009, Marketing Research iPhone Focus Group & Interviews, online video, 5 October 2009, You Tube, viewed 6 May 2015,< https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_uQ-6zhQdw >.

Kitzinger J, 1995, ‘Qualitative research. Introducing focus groups’, the bmj, no.311, pp. 299-302, viewed 6 May 2015, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2550365/?tool=pmcentrez&gt;

Social Media and its influence on consumer behavior…

social media 1

Social media and consumer behavior

Social media provides elements of convenience, awareness, fast communication and product comparisons for consumers. It is a huge part of the 20th century as we document every part of a lives and share it with our friends making us more aware of the world around us, bring us closer together as society, and making us more aware of others positive and negative experiences.

Consumer behavior is quite simply the way that we as consumers behave when we purchase goods and services, the processes we take to make decisions, and the patterns of retail chains we prefer to make purchases at.


The big influence

Lets look into the instance of buying a new car. Before social media a consumer behaved significantly differently to the way they behave in 2015. The process in the lead up to the purchase was much simpler and faster in the past. A consumer would refer to traditional forms of media such as newspapers and rely on phone, word of mouth and face to face communication to buy a car. The process was relatively short. In 2015, the first point of reference for information on a new vehicle is the internet as it provides us with endless search options. Social media offers information on companies and the products they offer, as well as the opportunity to communicate with fellow consumers at just the click of a button. “The internet‟s viral and social capabilities have created a completely new forum for consumers.” ( Nirmala. K, 2013).This can be an advantage or strongly damaging to retailers through word of mouth communication over social media as they can receive a good or bad reputation. The following youtube clip addresses the process in which consumers behave when buying a new car in the 20th century, and displays how much assistance social media provides.



The big question… Has social media influenced consumer behavior in a positive way?

Research into industries around the world has consistently found that “Media is revolutionizing consumer behavior” (Pandya.K, 2013). It shortens the gap between consumers and retailers as it provides endless opportunities of communication in a direct and convenient manner. Websites such as Facebook, instagram, and twitter allow retailers to achieve a greater customer reach which has a huge influence on consumers as they are more informed, and influenced when making purchases. Consumers inhibit the power to make educated choices as social media provides product comparisons, product and retailer reviews, and the ability to search up on our purchase considerations.

Through increasing trends of online shopping and the greater reach of advertising social media achieves, retailers are able build greater relationships with customers. I believe it has influenced consumer behavior in a positive way as it has brought consumers and retailers closer together and enabled convenient options for consumers to make more educated choices in their day to day lives.


Pandya. K, 2013, Influence of social media on consumer behaviour, slideshare, viewed 5 May 2015, <http://www.slideshare.net/alwaysinnovative/influence-of-social-media-on-consumer-behaviour >

Spruiel. T, 2012, Toyota Social Xperience – Car Buying Encounter From Connect Consumer, online video, 19 December 2012, You tube, viewed 5 May 2015 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jxo3BEQgNPY>

Nirmala K, 2013, ‘An impact of social media on consumer behaviour: A study’, International Journal of Logistics & Supply Chain Management Perspectives, no.2.4, pp. 467-471,viewed 6 May 2015, <http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1648168785?pq-origsite=summon>

Instrumental Conditioning And The World Around Us….


Instrumental conditioning

Human beings interact in society in a manner that is reflected by their emotions and feelings. We will repeat actions or re visit situations that make us feel good about ourselves or have positive  memories, and we will avoid situations that have negative memories.

If we take a closer look, we see that instrumental conditioning is a highly relevant aspect in the way we behave. “According to recent reinforcement learning models, two distinct components are involved: a “critic,” which learns to predict future reward, and an “actor,” which maintains information about the rewarding outcomes of actions to enable better ones to be chosen more frequently. (O’Doherty et al. 2004). There are two approaches these parties may take; Positive reinforcement, or negative reinforcement. These techniques influence the likelihood that the behavior will be repeated in the future in response to the cue the critic provides to the actor.

Pet ownership

 Australia has the highest rate of pet ownership in the world as “63% of Australian Households Own pets” (RSPCA, 2014).  As we welcome the animals into our lives we want them to behave in a particular manner, we want them to be toilet trained, friendly, and  to perform tricks for us. Reinforcement with pets is used in the form of offering them some kind of food reward or ‘treat’ for positive behavior, and a negative reward such as being put outside for negative behavior. Below is an example of how we use positive reinforcement to condition our pets.

(William Knapp, 2014)

The puppy is being conditioned through the use of positive reinforcement for its actions as it is rewarded with a treat. Over a period of repetition of command by the ‘critic’ (the trainer), the ‘actor’ (the puppy) learns to roll over as it seeks a treat and learns to act in a desired way.

Human conditioning

We are being conditioned in every action we take. This is achieved through the enforcement of laws and the negative repercussions we incur if we break them all to shape our society into a better place to live in for everyone.

Positive reinforcement is seen in our purchasing habits. Many retailers have embraced the use of a rewards programs  for their benefit. An example is the boost juice rewards card. .  Boost Juice has a rewards card for customers who receive a free boost on their tenth purchase. This entices us to purchase as much of that product as we can because we love the feeling of receiving free stuff as we perceive it as good value.

As our actions are strongly driven by the emotions associated with situations, it makes us easy to be shaped by others to perform in a specific way. As I have explained this concept I finish with a funny example of how easily we allow ourselves to be conditioned which can be seen in the clip below.

(TeachingBizVids, 2012)


O’Doherty,J, Dayan,P, Schultz,J ,Deichman,R,2004, Dissociable ‘Roles of Ventral and Dorsal Striatum in Instrumental Conditioning’, Science AAAS, vol.304, no 5669, pp.452-452.

RSPCA, 2014, How many pets are there in Australia?, viewed 5 May 2015, <http://kb.rspca.org.au/How-many-pets-are-there-in-Australia_58.html&gt;

TeachingBizVids, 2012, Big Bang Theory-operant conditioning, online video, 29 October 2012, You Tube, viewed 5 May 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mt4N9GSBoMI&gt;

Knapp.w, 2008, Changing Behavior with Operant Conditioning, online video, 14 August 2008, You Tube, viewed 5 May 2015, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLoHH03QAAI&gt;

Retail, unleashing the sizzling romance of fashion, sales and that “feel good” ideal

saleThrough shopping for a birthday event recently it  became apparent to me that as a consumer it was an absolute necessity to purchase a top to toe new outfit for nights out. Not only is it important to feel like your outfit is 100% on point for the occasion, the thrill and excitement of having a new outfit to show off convincingly makes the night more enjoyable. It was during this experience that I became to ponder the idea of the effect sales were having on my spending outcomes.

As I jumped on board of the Westfield express shoppers club, I had approximately 2 hours free parking left. Mission accepted!

Stop One Dress…

Gazing through the shop fronts of Westfield, I was drawn to the ever so appealing red and white sale sign. Thaallyt was the make or break decision, Ally would be the starting point of my mission. As I wandered into the store beautiful garments greeted me. Long dresses, tight dresses, little black dresses, peplin skirts, party tops all crying the word SALE. It took less than 5 minutes to gather five possible outfit choices and locate the in store change room to view the choices at hand, however it was only one outfit that was to be. A stunning mid calf length tight black dress with a lace insert, and at 50% off the decision was made. There was no other option but to purchase this divine dress for my outfit collection.

Stop Two Shoes…

It only makes sense to match a beautiful dress with complementing shoes. The element bettsthat was now an absolute necessity seeing as the dress was purchased at such a cheap price. Skimming through the shop fronts of the surrounding stores my eyes were hooked on a nearby shoe store with a wall of the glorious sale signs. It was a match made in heaven, perfect blue heels to make the accompanying long black dress pop with colour, high enough to look dressy, and elegant enough to look formal. 70% off and a perfect size nine these heels were meant to be.

Budget Status…

Well below budget. At this rate a whole new outfit could be purchased and a fashion choice left open for the occasion, however it raises the question. Had these sales not been on, would such an outfit have been purchased and would the ultimate ‘feel good’ factor have been achieved?… Absolutely not!