Week 13: Persuasion (Option 2)

Option 2:

Your textbook gives a good overview of the power of persuasion, but how well do you recognize these effects in your own lives? In advertising, both the central route and the peripheral route are used to persuade an individual. Many commercials use these routes to persuade an individual to buy their product or to buy into their idea. Select one type of product (e.g., cars, cereal, video games) and find a commercial that displays the central route and another that displays the peripheral route of persuasion. Discuss how each route is used, argue which route of persuasion you believe worked best, point out any other persuasion techniques that you noticed, and explain how the commercials could have better displayed the route of persuasion it used. Please put the link to the commercials in your discussion.


For this prompt, I found two different Taco Bell commercials and will be comparing them.

I think nowadays it’s difficult finding a purely central route commercial.  We are a media-centric society, and with all the information available to us, commercials need to stand out.  This commercial has some elements of peripheral route persuasion — genial spokespersons, feel-good music — but the main content is about the contents of the items in the dollar menu.  Close-ups of the food are given, ingredients listed — in accordance with a certain craving voiced (cheesy, sweet).  This way, a viewer can follow along with the spokespersons, and identify with or even develop a craving for “something cheesy,” see the option available right away, and have Taco Bell in mind.  The commercial might have been better if it had included drinks, to make a full meal of it.

This commercial doesn’t give any information relating to the food.  It doesn’t even show the food at all — just a wrapped package at the end.  It is purely perpiheral route; the entire focus of the commercial is a single idea — the idea that Taco Bell is better and more original than other foods.  The not-so-subtle clowns, slide, and ball pit making up the oppressive regime of sameness are pretty great, though I’m not sure if it’s enough to convert followers of the Golden Arch.  Or maybe I’m wrong.  People always strive to seem different and unique, and this commercial is definitely promoting unique.  I think the commercial did well to not actually show the food, because the story was so dramatic, I feel like showing a small taco at the end would be a bit of a let down.  Instead, it lets the viewer’s mind imagine what great food is inside that paper wrap.  I liked the commercial a lot — I’m not sure what could be done differently without changing the feel of it.

    Overall, I think that Taco Bell is employing some pretty solid marketing strategies.  I found the central route commercial convincing because it made me hungry for those specific foods.  The peripheral route commercial was convincing because it made me think that Taco Bell, as a whole, might be better and more original than other restaurants.  I was never really into them before, but after watching these commercials I feel myself more inclined to try and live más.


2 thoughts on “Week 13: Persuasion (Option 2)

  1. The second commercial reminds me of the 1984 Apple advertisement here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfqw8nhUwA
    Both show people being brainwashed by the competition and being converted to something more exciting. Both commercials begin in black and white, only to be transformed into color when the product is introduced. Lots of advertising uses this “transformation” format to make their product different from everything on the rest of the market. Everyone wants something shiny and new to change their life. I would argue that the same thing is true in many women’s cosmetics commercials. Before a new lip gloss, a girl will get no attention but after purchasing it she is the belle of the ball. It’s an effective way to advertise, but it comes at the price of convincing someone that their life is boring. The commercial is also very similar to the “Divergent” and “Hunger Games” series.
    I agree that the food isn’t featured as prominently as I would expect it to be, but that sets it apart from other commercials. It looks more like a movie trailer than a commercial, which is another way Taco Bell is trying to make itself more original.


  2. Pingback: Week 13 Student Blogging Spotlight: Topic – Social Psychology | Dr. MacFarlane's General Psychology Blog

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