Skip to main content

Digital Inoculation: Resisting Right Wing's Persuasion


"Fake news” is not going away anytime soon. It will probably just get worse. Trump’s latest tweets are an example of this. And as our society becomes more polarized, we are likely to have more fake news and radical messages spread like forest fire because of social media. And while some people might think that fake news doesn't work, psychology, research, and current events would tell us otherwise. So why is fake news so persuasive and impactful? As humans, we are easily swayed by memorable events rather than facts. And those radical events are easier to remember, real or not. In turn, the more we remember them, the more realistic they become. 
 Adults, for the most part, are capable of forming their opinions and determining fact from fiction. But what about children? If you are a parent worried about your kid getting influenced by these messages online, what do you do? What is the best way to build resistance to false messages?
 Below are a couple of techniques for attitude inoculation with examples from the advertising and political world. 
 Establish beliefs and stimulate commitment
Make a public commitment to what you believe. A solidified belief will make you less susceptible to other people’s beliefs.
A simple 'like' on Facebook can stimulate commitment. A study done by Adam Ferrier in 2013 revealed that people who 'like' a brand on Facebook or write a comment are more likely to make a purchase and recommend the brand to friends. We reaffirm loyalties and beliefs when we cultivate and build a relationship with a brand, person or association. 
One of the best examples of this is from Obama's campaign team in 2012. As you probably remember, it was a close election; Obama won by 51.1% against Romney (47.2%). Obama's success can be attributed to many things, but to focus on one specifically: Obama and his campaign team built a relationship with voters. They asked Americans to vote, whether Democrat or Republican, they just wanted people to get out and vote. Registered voters were just asked to sign a "pledge to vote" card, which featured a subtle photo of Barack Obama. This moment, although small, increased the likelihood that the person would vote, and would vote for the Democratic Party. 
Develop counterarguments
Like an inoculation against disease, even weak arguments will prompt counterargument, which is then available for stronger attack. Having stood up for your convictions, you will become less susceptible to what other have to say. William McGuire documented this inoculation theory in a series of experiments.
In advertising, we bring counterargument to mind in response to an opponent’s ads. This technique developed by Robert Cialdini is called "The poison parasite defense" because it combines a poison (strong counterarguments) with a parasite (a retrieval cue that brings those arguments to mind when seeing an opponents ads). 
Anti-smoking ads have effectively done this. Re-creating a “Marlboro Man” commercial set in the rugged outdoors but now showing a coughing, decrepit cowboy is an example of this. 
Similarly, Sprint applied this technique by hiring the Verizon's "Can You Hear Me Now" guy as their own pitchman. Sprint's new ads combine a poison (a strong reliability counterargument) with a parasite (the pitchman that creates the retrieval cue). The wireless company now claims that its reliability is within 1 percent of that of Verizon and AT&T and leaves T-Mobile in the dust.
At the end of the day, we are humans -- slightly imperfect and fairly irrational. We are swayed more by memorable events than facts. If we want to protect people against a contaminated social environment, we need to give them the ability to do so by stimulating their mental defenses.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Adidas kills TV. Now, let’s debate

The News: Adidas is ditching TV for digital. The company is looking to boost its e-commerce revenues from $1.06 billion in 2016 to $4.25 billion by 2020 — and Adidas wants to use digital channels to get there. The Rationale: Fish where the fish are. Younger consumers don't watch TV anymore. They spend most of their time on their mobile devices. The Controversy: Why do they want to ditch a medium that is allegedly more "critical" to the brand and that generates more sales than digital? Here we have the Debate between TV and digital: Media Consumption TV: People are watching TV now more than ever.  Digital: People are consuming media more than ever, but mostly through digital devices. The Fact: In 2017, people are projected to spend 6 hours on digital – with the majority being mobile devices - while only spending 4 hours consuming television according to the eMarketer forecast. Younger viewers watch 2.5 times more internet video than TV. Consumers aged 13-24 watch 12.1 hours …

How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Aim for Love, Not Likes

Love is an unconditional emotion while like is a more watered-down version of love. Loving someone means that he or she means everything to you while liking someone implies that you are only happy being with that person. Love involves deeper, stronger emotions, while like is more of a tender feeling towards that special someone. In a world of infinite choices, love is everything. Like is a nice to have.  Today, we live in a world of abundance, where people intent to create content surpass their time to consume it. Video content is much easier and cheaper to produce than at any other time in history. YouTube sees 400 hours of video uploaded every minute. Facebook has more than 250,000 status updates in the same span. We could never read and see everything online.  With unlimited possibilities and limited time, we pay sustainable attention to what we love and divided attention to what we like. We spend hours watching Homeland and give our divided attention to our news feed on Facebook. …

Winter and Summer in Adland

It is winter in Adland.  We have moved from a world of scarcity to a world of abundance and algorithms.  We have lost the power of influence. Trust has been severely damaged.  Consumer attention is the new bottleneck. We no longer decide who sees us. Instead, we get picked.  30 second is not enough anymore. We need to take consumers through a scenic journey to create a long lasting relationship.  Everyone is a publisher. It is easier than ever to create, but harder than ever to make a hit.  The impulse to make has far outrun the desire to consume.  New forces have emerged in the form of sophisticated algorithms.  A new model has surfaced called "pay per play,” which scored everything we do on relevance to feeding the machine. It decides what gets picked, when, and where, based on extreme relevancy.  Mass media has vanished. Precision and personalization have emerged.  It is winter in Adland. The good days are all long gone.  It is Summer in Adland We now have the power to make bra…