[Video] What do you think about this drink-driving campaign? It’s made by the foundation convivencia sin violencia, which basically means ‘coexistence without violence’ (what’s in a name, huh?).
First thing you probably notice watching this video is that it’s quite shocking. Public Service Annoucements often use fear appeals to send a message. Specifically heuristic appeals like in this video are used for people who are not motivated to process and evaluate information about the campaign. Negative information (like killing your friends) is remembered way better than positive information, but pushing the fear appeal too far has a counterproductive effect. According to Witte & Allen (2000) fear appeals influence someone via 3 independent variables:
- Fear (obviously)
- Perceived efficacy (can you perform the ‘right’ behavior? )
- Perceived fear (is this danger applicable to me?)
The first two variables may not really be the problem, but the third one probably is. When the danger presented is too big, the individual will deny the danger really exists. When the results are presented exorbitantly, the processing of the advertised behavior is interrupted. The receiver will try to think of reasons why the message is not applicable to him/her. This will not happen to anyone and this video is viral material, but is there a way to make the target group look past the shotgun?