Advertising is an everyday and significant phenomenon. Sponsors hire agencies to inform us about, and persuade us to buy, innumerable branded products and services on the market, though a variety of mass media. Advertisements also urge us to donate to charity, vote for candidates, or adopt particular lifestyles. Furthermore, advertising may be blatant or subtle, inoffensive or controversial, conventional or ground-breaking. It may succeed, fail, or backfire. It is partly an intuitive art and partly an empirical science.
The course will initially address advertising from the perspective of the psychology of attitude change, seeking to understand it better through the lens of several classic and contemporary theories that are informed by empirical evidence. To this end, several chapters in a textbook will be studied.
Later, the course will turn to half-a-dozen specialist topics of particular interest, such as the ethics of advertising, the psychology of online clickbait, and role of associative conditioning. To this end, lectures with links to additional studies will be studied.
Students will also be taught how to produce a real print advertisement, on behalf of a local Southampton business, in accordance with the principles recommended by famous and contemporary advertisers.
Students will further learn how, in an extended piece of writing, to apply the principles they learn to a topic of contemporary relevance, such as changing public attitudes or behaviour in the light of COVID-19.
The curriculum may also include sessions and tutorials featuring one or more invited speakers who specialize in, or make use of advertising, such as business CEOs or professional copywriters.
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- understand in depth specialist topics to do with advertising, such as the role played by associative conditioning, emotional factors, identity dynamics, and the techniques featured in online clickbait.
- have learned how to imagine, design, and create a print advertisement in response to real a client brief.
- have learned about many key principles that make advertising persuasive
- have learned about the psychological processes that underlie different stages of persuasion
- have learned about the advertising world in general.
- be able to judiciously weigh the empirical and logistical merits of different proposed interventions to persuade consumers or the public to adopt particular attitudes or perform particular behaviors.
- develop the practical skill of writing recommendations for changing the minds and behaviors of the public in some important ways, drawing on the principles of advertising, attitude change, and behavioral compliance.
- understand in depth advertising in its context, both in terms of ethical principles, and its historical development.
- be able to critically understand the scope and limitations of interventions designed to change minds or alter behavior, and the scope and limitations of methodologies and research designs used to arrive at scientific and applied conclusions.
- be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of social psychological theories of persuasion in domain of advertising, as well as of several key principles that underlie the construction of effective print advertisements.
1: Introduction to Advertising: Setting the stage for a psychological understanding
2: Attitude Change: Principles and models of persuasion
3: Attitudes and Behaviour: How persuasion turns into action
4: Inducing Compliance: Techniques for by-passing persuasion
These topics map on to four corresponding chapters in the textbook: “The Psychology of Advertising” by Fennis and Stroebe (2nd Edition). These chapters are: Chapter 1, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, and Chapter 7. Two class sessions will be devoted to each of these Chapters.
5: The Ethics of Advertising
6: The History of Advertising
7: Principles of Clickbait
8: Associative Conditioning
9: Emotion in Advertising
10: Identity in Advertising
The materials for these topics are the lecture notes plus academic papers and other materials supplied on Blackboard.
Students will be given instruction on how to construct an effective print advertisement--drawing on the pointers provided by the celebrated advertiser and copywriter David Ogilvy, as well as by contemporary art director and copywriter Pete Barry. They will then take this knowledge—alongside that provided by the basic and specialist topics—and apply it to developing persuasive print advertisements.
Moreover, the advertisement will be developed on behalf of one or more businesses or causes in the local community with whom the course instructor has liaised, and informed by real-life briefs and requirements.
To assist students, not only will they provided with notes on, and recorded discussions of, the relevant chapters by Ogilvy and Barry, they will also be given a PowerPoint Template to work with, and will be offered one round of formative feedback via email on their print advertisement.
Furthermore, they will also be provided with "feed-forward", using examples of print advertisements submitted in previous years, the merits and marking of which be extensively discussed in live sessions.
Alongside their print advertisements, students will also submit a 1000-word, free-form, justification documents, explaining the reasons for the decisions they made in creating the print advertisements, thereby aiding marking.
The curriculum may also include sessions and tutorials featuring one or more invited speakers who specialize in, or make use of advertising, such as CEOs or copywriters. The material taught is not obligatory but may be integrated into the coursework essay. Connecting with the invited speakers is nonetheless liable to assist students with their career development, directly or indirectly.
COURSE CONTENT BY WEEK
Session 1: Course Overview // Introduction to Advertising
Session 2: Attitude Change 1 & 2
Session 3: MCQ Construction Overview // Client Visit
Session 4: Attitudes & Behaviour 1 & 2
Session 5: Inducing Compliance 1 & 2
Session 6: Print Ad Overview // Print Ad Advice
Session 7: Print Ad "Feedforward" // Essay Overview
Session 8: Ethics of Advertising // History of Advertising
Session 9: Principles of Clickbait // Associative Conditioning
Session 10: Emotion in Advertising // Identity in Advertising
Session 11: Essay Advice
Session 12: Reading Week
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
The standard approach each week (varying from COVID-19 lockdown conditions in 20/21, which employed a wholly-online “flipped-classroom” model) will be to
- lecture weekly in a face-to-face capacity, and
- organize a follow-up weekly session on Blackboard.
These synchroncous lectures will provide information about, and help students to get to grips with, the basic topics on the course. The follow-up sessions will include Q & A, pop quizzes, issue discussions, and other activities designed to consolidate learning in an engaging way.
Basic Topics: 7 Weekly live face-to-face lectures (synchronous; also recorded)
Basic Topics: 4 Weekly follow-up sessions (synchronous; also recorded)
Basic Topics: Multiple-choice question creation: Overview
Basic Topics: Multiple-choice question creation: Individualised feedback over email
Specialised Topics: 6 weekly live face-to-face lectures (synchronous; also recorded)
Specialised Topics: 3 weekly follow-up sessions (synchronous; also recorded)
Specialised Topics: Essay: Overview
Specialised Topics: Essay: Template
Applied Topic: Weekly live face-to-face lectures (also recorded)
Applied Topic: Additional asynchronous recorded lecture materials on Blackboard
Applied Topic: Live session "feedforward" based on previous years (also recorded)
Applied Topic: Individualised feedback over email
Tutorial Topics: Invited tutorial (also recorded)
|Total study time
Resources & Reading list
Additional Summary Notes. Available on Blackboard
Recording of lectures. Available on Blackboard
Lecture Notes. Available on Blackboard
Ogilvy, D. (1983). Ogilvy on advertising. London: Pan Books.
Barry, P. (2016). The advertising concept book. London: Thames and Hudson..
Fennis, B. & Stroebe, W. (2016). The psychology of advertising. New York: Taylor and Francis.
Multiple Choice Quiz Creation Assignment
All students will create their own multiple-choice quiz (MCQ). Specifically, for each double-lecture session corresponding to the four chapters prescribed from the textbook (i.e., Basic Topics), they will create several items designed to test for knowledge and comprehension of some of the material contained therein. In particular, they will devise 5 questions for each double-lecture session, or 20 questions in all.
Participants will be provided with a set of guidelines as regards what constitutes an MCQ item of higher quality. Such guidelines will include: clarity, brevity, a unique right answer, reasonable "red herring" lures, unguessability at zero knowledge, a mix of difficulty levels, non-overlap with other items, non-arcaneness, etc. Such criteria also provide a principled basis for summative assessment.
The instructor will also run a dedicated session to explain to the collectively class what guidelines mean, and to illustrate the guidelines with concrete examples of good and poor practice. In addition, the instructor will provide all students with individual feedback on one of the MCQ items that they create.
After creating 20 items, student will select a subset of 5 to be subjected to individual marking. Each chosen item will count towards 15% of the total marks for the assignment, this constituting 5 x 15% = 75% in all). The remaining 15 items will be assessed globally and count towards 25% of the total marks for the assignment. This arrangement will empower students to reflect on and refine their work to seek the highest marks, but will still incentivize quality across the whole assessment, while also contributing to marking efficiency when class size is large.
The generation of MCQs is designed to replace the taking of MCQs while meeting many of the same learning outcomes. Note that, any advantage that taking MCQs enjoys, in terms of providing unpredictable and comprehensive summative assessment, is arguably counterbalanced by the advantage that generating MCQs enjoys, in terms of fostering formative engagement with the course material at a deeper and more enduring level, including material that they consider and reject.
The Multiple Choice Quiz Creation Assignment will count towards one-third of the total marks for the module (33%).
The Print Advertisement Assignment
Each student will create a print advertisement on behalf of a local Southampton business (which may even end up being used, in its original or modified form, with student permission). The business owner will address the class in a separate session, to talk about his business and answer student questions, and student may visit the business premises. The content and construction of the print advertisements is designed reflect the principles and guidelines taught in the module, sourced from both attitude change theorists and famous advertisers. Hence, the assignment trains students how to apply the knowledge they learn and insight they gain a real and concrete way.
To facilitate the assignment, students will be given a PowerPoint template, featuring standard spaces for an image, headline, sub-headline, full text, tagline, and logo. They will also be provided by a checklist of evaluation criteria. Students will submit, alongside their print ad, a 1000-word justification document providing a rationale for their decisions, which will be marked with the print advertisement as a unit. The assignment will be supported by one session outlining the task, and two further sessions discussing previous and public advertisements. In addition, all students will be given one round of individual feedback, consisting of answers to two questions about a draft of their print advertisement.
The Print Advertisement Assignment will count towards one-third of the total marks for the module (33%).
The Integrative Essay Assignment
Each student will also complete a coursework essay 1,500 to 2,000 words in length. In it, students will draw on the material covered in the six specialist sessions to recommend how an advertising campaign on a topic of public relevance might be run to better influence attitudes and behavior. In 2021/2022, the advertising campaign will relevantly pertain to COVID-19. A template for the essay will be provided, featuring particular standard sections (e.g., Background, Goal, Challenges, Application of Topics 1-6, Qualifications, Recommendations). A checklist of criteria will also be provided to give students insight into what standards they should meet. Supportive sessions will provide a background to the object of the advertising campaign; an outline of what the assignment entails; and one or more preparation workshop to provide hints and guidance. Again, the assignment trains students how to apply the knowledge they learn.
The Integrative Essay Assignment will count towards one-third of the total marks for the module (33%).
The remaining 1% of the final mark will be made up by research participation credits for the Psychology Research Participant Pool.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
|Multiple choice question
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
|Multiple choice question
Repeat type: Internal & External