MK 354 Spring 2010

February 22, 2010


Filed under: blog #4 — csomerville @ 1:06 pm

Everyone knows Subway’s spokesman Jared Fogle. Fogle, once morbidly obese, lost nearly 250 pounds by exercising and eating healthy sandwiches from his favorite restaurant, Subway. While this phenomenal change has undoubtedly improved the quality and length of his life, why is it that this otherwise unknown man’s story became a wildly successful campaign? The answer is his credibility.

In “Made to Stick,” by Dan and Chip Heath, people such as Fogle are called “antiauthorities,” meaning that they aren’t publicly known celebrities or figures. These people add credibility to a message not based on who they are, but on what they have experienced. Fogle motivated people to eat at Subway because of the inspirational personal experience he’d had with the restaurant. People thought that if an average, overweight guy like Fogle could do it, so could they.

Fogle was also a source that people could trust. Unlike a celebrity endorser, Fogle didn’t have a contract with Subway prior to his weight loss, nor did he have intentions of approaching Subway after he’d seen results. Fogle’s story had been picked up by chance, making his experience even more genuine and credible to the audience.


credible: all state insurance

Filed under: blog #4 — Tags: , , — marissagkelley @ 12:54 pm

The fourth chapter of the Heath brothers’ book, Made to Stick, focuses on credibility, and breaks down the elements that make an idea credible. To illustrate some of their core concepts, I will use the All State Insurance campaign.

When consumers go shopping for something like insurance, it is not a purchase they take lightly. People value their lives, loved ones and possessions at a very high degree, and they are not going to be willing to take any risks in protecting them. Therefore, as a company that offers this service, it is imperative that it offers credibility. Much like Safexpress had to prove their credibility to the Bollywood film company, All State must prove its credibility in order to gain significant market share.

In one particular All State advertisement entitled “Tail Lights”, a long line of cars full of teenagers drives along an open road. Music plays and spokesman Dennis Haysbert states “Every year, six thousand teenagers go out for a drive…and never come back. Just talking to them can change that”. The camera zooms in on a young girl’s face through the window as she drives away into the darkness. The ad is promoting All States parent-teen driving contract.

There are two Made to Stick elements at play here. First, the Heath brothers state that using vivid, truthful details can boost internal credibility. In this sixty-second TV spot, there are multiple shots of teens in their cars, laughing with friends or playing with a soccer ball. The attention that is paid to these details makes the teens more familiar, so that when Haysbert releases his statement on the number of annual teen driving deaths, the knowledge hits like a bag of sand. The details make the spot memorable, and relate back to the core idea of the campaign, which is to promote All State insurance. This method also makes the idea of teen driving deaths more concrete.

This is also an example of the human scale principle. The Heath brothers believe that appealing to existing schemas in a consumers mind will generate a human context for the statistic. They state, “humanizing the statistic gives the argument a greater wallop” (145). Watching the line of cars full of teenagers drive away, knowing that they represent six thousand deaths, humanizes a bland statistic on paper. This makes the statistic much more powerful, and boosts All State’s credibility.

Windows 7 Was My Idea

Filed under: blog #4 — cathleendbombard @ 12:44 pm

On Friday, my day off I spend the day doing laundry, homework or cleaning my house. It’s also the day I remember to water my poor plants, which are usually on the verge of dying from dehydration.  However, last Friday I spent the entire morning waiting for Comcast to show up and set up my cable.  Normally, I would be pretty upset waiting for the cable guy. But, the thought of having cable secretly thrilled me. Usually I have to ask my neighbor if I can watch “Greys Anatomy” with her and she talks through the entire show.

To my surprise, my phone rang at noon and Comcast arrived as promised. It took the young man about twenty minutes to set my system up and to his probable dismay, fifteen more to teach me how to turn the darn thing on! At last I was alone with my new cable. I scanned through my two hundred new stations and of course, nothing was on! Before turning off the television to water my neglected plants I saw the perfect ad for “Made to Stick” blog number 4. There it was in the form of a Microsoft Corp. Windows 7 commercial.

The Windows 7’s ad campaign is called, “I’m a PC and Windows 7 Was My Idea.” Each commercial shows real people telling their stories on how their feedback was heard by Microsoft Corp. As a result, they truly believe Windows 7, Microsoft’s new operating system was their idea. Consumers want to believe that a company is going to listen to them. People watching this commercial are able to relate and fee valued- I sure did.

The reading in “Made to Stick,” suggests that the key to a successful ad campaign is creditability. Windows uses its consumers, rater than its President as authority figures to establish trust. Costumers of the product feel like they have access to both the product and the company. This is particularly important with a computer product as most consumers often feel like they have no voice in either product development or how the system works. In this case, Microsoft Corp. lets potential customers know that their voices will be heard.

Any given company can say they listen, but by bringing their statistics to life in a campaign it lends Windows credibility. By using real people in their ads, being honest and forward it allows Windows customers to trust the message of everyday people and therefore Microsoft Corp.

Establishing Credibility: 5-Hour Energy

Filed under: blog #4 — ElizabethOstebo @ 12:42 pm

In the text Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath describe three sources that can establish credibility: external sources, internal sources and the audience. External sources of credibility include authority and antiauthority figures, while internal sources of credibility rely on statistics and detailed examples. Audience credibility, on the other hand, provides “testable credentials” in order to heighten credibility—consumers test claims in order to determine how credible something is (Heath 157).

5-Hour Energy—a sugar-free, low calorie, caffeinated, 2 ounce energy drink—mainly relies on external and internal sources of credibility in its commercials. However, 5-Hour Energy’s newer commercial uses testable credentials, instead of solely featuring the testimonials of relatively well-known race car drivers or unknown business owners from California.

This commercial, for example, makes use of the audience and consumer as sources of credibility as it urges them to “Take one 5-Hour Energy, then, see what the rest of your day feels like.” Although the claims in the commercial may not be immediately viewed as credible, the confident suggestion to test the product and determine if it works is an attempt to establish credibility.

On another note, does the smug-looking narrator help or hurt the cause? It kind of seems like it could go either way. In an attempt to prove him wrong, 5-Hour Energy consumers might actually enjoy the energy drink—which seems absurd because how can you truly enjoy a shot or “two quick gulps” of anything?

More 5-Hour Energy Commercials:

a not so credible ad

Filed under: blog #4 — mtamayo26 @ 11:28 am

With this chapter being on credibility, it was particularly challenging to find an advertisement, because I’m what the Heath brothers call a “skeptic.” The only campaign I could think of that uses statistics or the “Sinatra Test” were the Truth campaigns, so instead I took a different route and chose an advertisement that doesn’t prove to be very credible, and that’s the Kristie Alley for Jenny Craig ads. While some could argue since she is or was a celebrity, she could be considered an “authority.” The Heath brothers explain that people trust the recommendations of celebrities they like, but in the case of Kristie Alley, I don’t think very many people are too swayed by what she says or does.

The commercial not only failed to chose a reliable endorser, but it also lacked the use of compelling details, the use of statistics, or proven real life experiences (The Sinatra Test). With this commercial, where are the details that make me believe Jenny Craig is better than any of the other weight loss programs? Where are the statistics and the numbers to prove this program works? Had the Jenny Craig commercials also included “nonauthorities” to prove their system worked, more people would feel like they could lose the weight too.

The only thing this commercial has going for it is Kristie Alley, a women who goes up and down in weight so much, I don’t think anyone would trust the weight loss system she’s on.

McDonald’s and the 2010 Winter Olympics

Filed under: blog #4 — jlptzld @ 11:16 am

As official sponsors of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, McDonald’s is taking full advantage of the credibility and authority that comes with being an Olympian for their current advertising campaign.

The appeal of the Olympian is multifaceted. First, these are the top competitors in the world; they are individuals admired by the masses and children around the world aspire to be great like their Olympic heroes. The authority Olympians possess by being the best, combined with their highly coveted status, lend these athletes to an incredibly persuasive advertising strategy. Another advantage to McDonald’s sponsorship of the 2010 Winter Olympics is the segmentation and localization of Olympic athletes. McDonald’s does not have to rely on a generic Olympic athlete to appeal to the corporation’s global customer base. Instead, McDonald’s can utilize the nationality and patriotism of specific Olympic teams to appeal to the corresponding country. An USA Olympic athlete is not needed to appeal to German consumers because Germany has its own athletes to admire and trust. Canada has a whole series of advertisements featuring its athletes (see below).

However, one apparent contradiction to the Olympian authority is the potential disconnect between the fit Olympic athlete and the arguably unhealthy fast food products offered by McDonald’s. This might not be obvious to the children targeted by McDonald’s current campaign—as the commercials often highlight grade school children interacting with their Olympic heroes—but for older, more advertisement wary individuals the authority of an Olympian might not carry much weight in a fast food context. After all, how much McDonald’s does an athlete training to compete against the best competitors in the world actually eat?

Do you smoke floor wipes?!

Filed under: blog #4 — Jackies blah-g @ 9:40 am

                Day by day it seems that more and more companies sprout from thin air that claims to be “the expert source.” Who is the all telling source? Is there just one company that reigns over all when it comes to credibility? Credibility can be derived from one’s beliefs from personal experience, family, or faith sources.  We judge credibility from the amount of detail that is presented such as images or statistics. Its human nature to want know that we are receiving the right information.

                In, Made to Stick, authors Dan and Chip Heath state, “It’s more important for people to remember the relationship than the number.”  Many advertisements nowadays state many statistics and claim to have support from a large corporation that has credibility in order to make their own claim reliable. For example, if the makers of the H1N1 vaccine have a claim for the public, they may use the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) name in order to back up their claim. Having the support of a company like the FDA adds credibility to their product and that alone influences the number of vaccines that need to be manufactured. If it wasn’t approved by the FDA, would you get the H1N1 flu shot? I highly doubt it.

                Then again, is it possible to endorse a product or message without the help of a celebrity or an organization where credibility already exists? Yes.

                “Acetic Acid is found in cigarettes. Acetic Acid is also found in floor wipes.”[1] Can you imagine inhaling a floor wipe? As shocking as it may be, this is a fact. It didn’t come from the FDA. It didn’t come from the surgeon general. This fact came from, a web site that is composed of people that research the harmful effects of smoking. Many people recognize their commercials that strike upon a person’s emotional chords. One commercial (below) shows people lining up body bags outside of a tobacco company to make a point. The stated fact at the end of the commercial is that: Every day 1200 people die from tobacco. Not only does this affect a person visually, but it affects a person emotionally as well. has become the antiauthority is still impacting the way people see tobacco and smoking.  The relationship of tobacco and people are contextualized “in terms that are more human (143).”

                In a matter of 30 seconds, has endorsed themselves as a credible source.  The web site features: the “FACTory,” videos, downloads, apparel and “the useful cigarette,” to support the antismoking movement.  So will you log onto the web site to check out my story or will I also become the antiauthority in this case, and you’ll just take my word for it?


Jaqui’s Story

Filed under: blog #4 — kathrynflynn @ 8:56 am

What did you have planned for your high school prom night? For me, it was all about going to the solon and getting my hair and nails done, dresses, dates, dinner, the limo and of course, the dance itself.  However, my plans didn’t end there. For me, and for the majority of other high school seniors, what I had planned for after my prom involved alcohol.  Growing up in Texas meant that the idea of public transportation or a taxicab was unheard of to me, and so the inevitable mixture of drunkenness and driving was a real threat.

Fortunately, my high school had a trick up its sleeve in an effort to prevent drunken driving. Two weeks before our early-June prom, it hosted a mandatory drunken driving assembly. It started with the same statistics and dull facts about the dangers of drunken driving that I had already heard a million times from parents and teachers alike. Every senior gathered in the gym to sit through the same assembly that we had seen every year since sixth grade. Now, as twelfth graders, it was more of an excuse to skip class and talk to friends than an educational program.  We had also all seen posters around our middle school and high school showing the picture of a terrifying looking girl named Jacqui who had been burned all over by a young boy who was driving drunk. To all of us, she was merely the over-used face of our schools’ ‘don’t drink and drive’ efforts.  Her elusive character was easily overlooked in our hallways.

About mid-way through the allotted assembly time, the presenter paused long enough to get the majority of my class’ attention. I looked at the presenter and then at the overhead projection screen that he was using to display the statistics that he was spewing. The familiar, mutilated face of Jacqui was on the screen. The presenter then calmly said that he would like to introduce the real Jacqueline Saburido to us.

At this point, every person in the gym was intrigued. I remember thinking, ‘Yeah right! She doesn’t exist.’ I can still recall the silence of my class and the skeptical giggles that broke that silence and seemed to say, ‘Ok, you cannot fool me that easily. This is lame.’ After all, she was only a two-dimensional, exceptionally ugly face.

Then the door to the gym opened, and in came the most pathetic and yet powerful figure I have ever seen. It was almost revolting.  A man escorted her to the microphone, and then she spoke to us. Jacqueline Saburido introduced herself in a soft voice, and then without pausing, she told her story. She stood in front of a receptive and horrified audience and spoke about how her life was changed by a drunk driver.  She was like a celebrity to us; we had all seen her picture everywhere. Similarly, we had all heard her story before, but seeing her in front of us made everyone in the room listen with compassion that we never new we had.

Her story and pictures can be viewed here:

To this day, seeing and hearing Jacqui was one of the most resounding experiences of my life.  This is due to two things having to do with how concrete and real her presence was.  First, simply seeing the effects of drunken driving first hand made its danger and risk so real (and so avoidable). This realization scared me to tears. Second, we actually listened.  Jacqui’s physical, concrete and unexpected presence made us so impressionable that we sat there and took in everything she said. Two years later, I still remember it. Her story and her face pop into my head when I think of anyone driving drunk, and she has effectively kept me from ever doing it.

Prom night was different that I had initially planned. There was no alcohol.  We realized through Jacqui’s painfully concrete example, that driving drunk is never worth it. However, I still had fun on prom night. And the best part? I have no regrets.

In Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Made to Stick, they discuss the power of credible sources in effective communicating.  For them, as it is for me, dry and intangible statistics have infinitely less power to convey an idea than a concrete authority or antiauthory does.

February 21, 2010

Filed under: blog #4 — Tags: , , — pmitch1 @ 9:44 pm

Deciding what brand of battery to buy is probably one of the most ambivalent and indifferent purchases of your entire life. Nobody proudly declares himself an Energizer enthusiast or a Duracell fanboy; purchasing batteries is a necessary evil. Plus, there is almost no easy way to tangibly assess how a well a battery is performing. Therefore, the two major battery manufacturers, Energizer and Duracell, have almost no reliable, concrete evidence that one lasts longer or performs better than another. I’m sure one side has provided some cooked statistic citing an “objective” study where one is definitively superior to the other, but the other side could simply respond with a study of their own that proves the opposite.

So with the concept of concreteness out the window, Energizer turned to an annoying pink rabbit to move product. This may have worked if their target audiences were toddlers and illiterate troglodytes, but adults are the ones buy batteries. The average adult is much more persuaded by a credible source rather than some unstoppable stuffed animal beating a drum. Duracell wisely decided to tap into the consumer’s trust of credibility to give their brand the edge.

In these ads, Duracell utilizes the idea of the “Sinatra Test” to establish credibility as the most effective and reliable on the market. According to Dan and Chip Heath’s book, “Made to Stick”, this concept alludes to the famous Frank Sinatra song ”New York, New York” in which the singer declares, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.” The authors profess, ”An example passes the Sinatra Test when one example alone is enough to establish credibility in a given domain. “ (p.151).

"I didn't write my own songs."

As the commercials shows, many credible companies who protect human life rely on Duracell batteries. This is a ringing endorsement because when put in a life or death situation, these people trust Duracell over any other brand. Duracell is hoping that the viewer of the commercial will see that their battery is being used in these extreme conditions and then recognize Duracell as the premier battery . If you can use their batteries in life-saving equipment, they’ll certainly work fine to power your remote.

Of course if Duracell actually believed that any singular endorsement for their batteries would solidify and expand their market share, they wouldn’t have to run multiple spots, each with different endorsements…

Credibility in the Antiauthority

Filed under: blog #4 — carolinerichov @ 5:39 pm

Think you know the world’s best-selling car?  If you’ve forgotten, ask someone you know… they might drive one.  It wouldn’t be surprising if cars current reputation has clouded your memory- but before the complaints, investigations and recalls, the Toyota Corolla was the world’s top seller.

Last year 1.3 million people purchased a new Corolla. For most people, purchasing a new car is usually not an impulse buy.  As consumers we do research, ask others for advice and scope out our options before making a final purchase.  With so many choices and different car advertisements, it is easy to “develop skepticism about the sources of those messages” (137).  Buying a new car can be a difficult process and credibility plays a major role in our decisions.

In “Made to Stick”, Chip and Dan Heath propose the question, “what makes people believe ideas?”  They continue to explain that we believe our parents, our friends and our experiences- the greatest credibility comes from those we know and what we’ve been through.  Toyota took this concept and marketed the Corolla stating “the most compelling reason to buy a new Corolla is an old Corolla”.  Based on the cars fuel efficiency and mileage, Toyota suggests the consumer be their own source of credibility based on past experiences with the car.  In addition, Toyota challenges the consumer saying “just ask someone you know who drives one”.  Instead of Toyota as the authorities telling you why you should buy their car (which they obviously want you to do), they suggest you ask others:  those who aren’t in business for your money.  It is these people, the antiauthorities, that the consumer truly finds credible.  Just as the Heath brothers illustrate a commercial about a great new shampoo having less credibility than hearing our friend rave about it, a consumer finds more credibility in a Corolla driver than in the Corolla commercial.

Even though current problems with Toyota may seem to hurt its credibility, it was the credibility of antiauthorities- Toyota drivers all over the world- that made the Corolla the best-selling car.

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