A Son Every Day

I’m going to stray away from business use of television advertising and look at other ventures’ use of media. After all, governments, charities and religions all want to get their message out there. Dan Pallotta (2013) argued in a TED talk for the use of corporate behaviour for a more effective achievement of pro social goals, and so such organisations have just as much justification to use psychology to affect the way we think and feel as the corporations do.

This is an advert made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to raise awareness of the value of family relationships. No doubt it has a secondary purpose to raise the awareness of the name, brand identity and character of the Church.

Today I want to play with the Freudian concept of transference. We see here footage about a new father talking with his father. They had had a rough past day, taking care of the family business as best they could while also taking the mans wife to hospital so she could give birth. The account is moving as it portrays the young family’s dependence on the apple farm, but yet saw it as immaterial compared to the experience of having a son. Finally the father declares that he went in the night and collected the apples in, and the adverts tag line is declared ‘Family… Isn’t it about? Time?

For many of the ads viewership, especially in North America, there are a lot of young and closely connected families and many can compare the model relationships conveyed in the ad to their own situation. There is the use of empathy, which is a form of stepping into (or transferring) yourself (as the viewer) into the situation. We already know plenty about how emotions take precedence over rationality in compelling a person to action, and so this ad is evocative.

And lest we forget, the purpose of the advert is as much about raising the profile of the Church as it is about reminding people to spend more time with their families. Rifon, Choi, Trimble and Li (2004) demonstrate how brands and sponsorships, which are congruent, are more persuasive. One might argue that the conscientious consumer might interpret sponsorships with distrust towards the sponsor. Interestingly, the evidence from Rofon, Choi, Trimble and Li (2004) supports that such endorsements typically support the credibility of the sponsor, even though and the cause of the relationship is unconfirmed.

So there we have it. In this as the Church portrays a pro social message effectively using emotions, and in addition to any motivation it provides with regards to ones family, it also raises awareness of the Church’s name as an organisation that supports families. This is an effective advert because evidence suggests that such sponsorships/endorsements will aid the credibility of the church as well.

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