Elaboration Likelihood Model – “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks”

***The following is an excerpt/extension of my assignment submission as part of the Integrated Marketing Communications course I’m taking at Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management.***

The Ad Council is a nonprofit organization with a mission of influencing positive social change through communications programs that make a difference in the society. A recent campaign – “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks” – aimed to change the attitude and culture of young drivers. Passive processing route of persuasion using an emotions approach were utilized in the series of ads. This campaign fits into the passive processing route due to its lack of motivation and ability. Motivation is the willingness of the individual to evaluate a message, and ability is the competence of the individual to engage in the required mental effort.

Applying the AIDA model using one of the videos (“Stairs” – see below) as an example, the ad begins by using physical humor as a way to attract attention of the viewer, which was followed by the words, “Not Everyone Should Text And Walk.” The frame immediately cuts to a distracted teenager who is seen happily texting on her phone while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. This conveyor-like sequence (going from “Not Everyone Should Text And Walk” to showing someone driving) generates interest by refocusing the attention on the driver and the anticipating outcome of texting and driving. The ad unravels when a mother and daughter (assuming) begins crossing the street at a stop sign. The inattentive driver continues to text, and as she looks up, the sound of screeching brakes drowns out the happiness as the screen cuts to wide-angle shot, showing the car right about to hurl past the stop sign and into the mother and daughter. The screen immediately cuts to the words, “No One Should Text And Drive.” The powerful emotional connection demonstrating the drastic consequences of texting and driving creates desire and action. In this case, the desire is not to want something, but to not want something [to happen]. Finally, the ad ends with a call-to-action by directing viewers to a website.

The mere exposure of the ad can create an opposite desire effect (in a traditional sense). For example, let’s examine a scenario using Tellis’ theory of conditioning, which explains how repetition could lead to a conditioned response. Imagine a teenager driving in a car and suddenly hears their phone ring. Having seen the Ad Council’s ad several times, may lead the teen to associate receiving text messages in a car to disastrous outcomes. In this scenario, the conditioned stimulus is the phone ring, the unconditioned stimulus is the drastic visual presented in the ads (e.g. car crash), and the unconditioned response is attitude change (i.e. not responding to the text message). Similarly, the act of picking up a phone while driving can also be considered as a conditioned stimulus.

2 Responses to “Elaboration Likelihood Model – “Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks””
  1. Drew says:

    How much time did it require you to create “Elaboration Likelihood Model – Stop the Texts,
    Stop the Wrecks Anthony Tham | A Morning Roast
    Blog”? It has a bunch of high-quality information and facts.
    Thanks -Adrienne

    • Anthony Tham says:

      Hi, sorry for the late response. It took me a few hours to research, compile, and write this blog post. As you might have found, this post was a part of a larger paper that I submitted as a part of a class I took. So that added some time…

      I appreciate your comment, and glad you’ve found the post informative!

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