Can Commercials Change Minds on Social Issues?

I recently finished reading social psychologist Albert Bandura’s new book, Moral Disengagement, in which he presents what amounts to an extensive literature survey on how social interactions can influence personal behaviors. Among other things, he presents studies of how using radio and television serial programs scripted to present themes like women’s empowerment and using communication rather than violence to resolve disputes have worked in various countries around the world.

There is no question we are all influenced by what we see and hear others do. And as Stanford researchers Reeves and Nass have shown us in The Media Equation, what we see on TV is just as real to us as interaction with a real person, one-on-one.

So, if serial dramas (soap operas, if you will) can bring about change, what about the micro-dramas of commercials and advertising?

Here is a link to a pretty long spot for Heineken that is very thought-provoking and, at least in my view, very needed right now. Take a look at this piece from the Ladders job search site and see if you agree.

About mediainmind

Education: BFA in Painting & Sculpture from California College of the Arts (Oakland); Executive MBA in Executive Management from the Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University (Claremont); MA and PhD in Media Psychology from the Fielding Graduate University (Santa Barbara). Experience: Over 40 years experience in marketing, advertising, and public relations on the client and agency sides of the business; for-profit and nonprofit, as well as government. Special Expertise: The interface between human behavior and the media. It's all about "media in mind." View all posts by mediainmind

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