Persuasive strategies: the effect of advertisement orientation in road safety advertising
The principal objective of this paper is to present the results of an experimental study designed to investigate the influence of message design strategies on message processing and changes on behavioural intentions towards anti-drink driving. In particular, this study builds on work conducted in the fear appeal domain, incorporating the impact of individual differences and message design orientation on message processing. In the experiment, 343 18 to 24 year-old university students viewed three anti-drink driving advertisements in a laboratory setting. They completed measures of sensation seeking, perceived threat, perceived efficacy, attitudes towards drink driving risk prevention strategies, and behavioural intentions to engage in safe drink driving behaviours. Results provide support for a main effect of advertisement orientation on perceived threat, perceived efficacy, message acceptance and message rejection. Overall, sensory-orientated messages were more effective than cognitive-oriented advertisements for increasing perceived threat, message acceptance, and the message rejection behaviours relating to issue derogation and perceived manipulation than cognitive-orientated messages. The results suggest the relative superiority of sensory orientated advertisements over cognitive orientated advertisements, which give message designers some guidelines to follow in an attempt to build better persuasive messages.
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