In March of 2010 this was posted to the Nudge blog, explaining why social norms are a proven method to curb binge drinking among teens. The post features an advertisement from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health attempting to use guilt and shame to convince teens not to drink. The other example is from the National Institute of Social Norms campaign at Georgetown University. From this case study you can read about it’s effectiveness.
The same day of the Nudge blog post, Advertising Age published this article on a study done at Northwestern University. Using guilt or shame can actually influence the intended audience to take part in more of that behavior, says Kellogg marketing professor Nidhi Agrawal; “People who are already feeling guilt or shame resort to something called “defensive processing” when confronted with more of either, and tend to disassociate themselves with whatever they are being shown in order to lessen those emotions.”
It didn’t bother me much knowing that the Ministry of Health did that one set of ads, but to my astonishment they are producing more and now short videos too? The new campaign is titled: “What else got wasted?” Well it appears your marketing budget was.
Just because you “think” it’ll be an effective campaign doesn’t make it true, the proof is in the research and there is plenty out there.
Please, comments are welcome.