Take the biscuit!

As a nation of biscuit lovers, the UK enjoys 100 million McVities biscuits everyday, with two packets being eaten every second. The new McVities campaign, called ‘Take the Biscuit’, is a reflection of our biscuit eating moments and our everyday biscuit eating habits. The campaign was designed to be a celebration of the way biscuits create sharing and the way we experience these everyday moments.

The campaign is made up of 30 second adverts, featuring cute kittens and puppies. All of the adverts are attempting to capture a Great-British feel good mood, as the music in each advert are from British TV shows, including Fawlty Towers, Blockbuster and Murder She Wrote. The logo is seen distinctly through all the adverts in the campaign and the new design of the biscuit packaging allows the McVities brand name to be more prominent, whist still keeping the traditional McVities colours. All the adverts, which feature the slogan ‘Sweeet’, have been designed to elicit the same emotional responses and feelings to eating a McVities biscuit.

Research by Halford et al. (2004) found that a consumer’s ability to recognise a food commercial had a strong relationship with the amount of food that was eaten after exposure to a food advert. This could boost McVities sales, as this relationship mainly occurs for sweet snacks.

The first advert shows a family in their home about to enjoy a cuppa and a digestive biscuit., a tradition in many homes. Unwrapping the packet of biscuits transforms the everyday family moment, when cuddly corgi puppies appear. The whole family adore the world of puppy cuddles before the mum takes a bite into the digestive and everyone experiences the ‘crumbly cuddle’ feeling.

The next video, follows the same style, but this time it shows three nurses in a hospital canteen about to have a cuppa and a chocolate digestive. Again, the packet is unwrapped and kittens appear and the nurses are taken to a world of cuddles. Once the nurse takes the first biscuit bite, they all receive the ‘chocolatey snuggle’ feeling. Research by Bellfield et al. (2011) found that using cute animals in adverts increased the emotional connection to the advert, with females showing a greater connection than males.

These adverts are part of a £12 million relaunch and revitalisation of the brand McVities and is the biggest media investment by the company. There has been a massive media focus, from online marketing to social media. The media impact allowed the brand to take over the homepages of YouTube, Msn and Mail online, with many allowing consumers to pick their favourite advert to watch, allowing a personal touch. A new look website was launched to advertise their brand to a wider target audience, with features such as ‘Release the snuggles’ and ‘Site snuggler’.


McVities have not only targeted the online communities but also the in-store supermarket communities. The company have attempted to create maximimum brand awareness and brand memorability by creating supermarket ‘Sweeet’ aisle takeovers, with the entire biscuit aisle selling McVities biscuits. The 10 week trial has been created to win over new customers and retain loyal customers in a bid to drive product sales.

The overall aim of the campaign is for McVities to become a family of brands, which includes brands such as ‘Club’ and ‘Penguin’. This is an example of the halo effect, in which McVities competes to become a masterbrand. Research by Leuthesser, Kohli, & Harich (1995) found that the halo effect can provide a useful marker of brand equity, especially in commonly purchased house goods.

In conclusion, the adverts are funny and engaging, and whether the campaign is effective is still unknown. It looks like McVities are set to become the masterbrand of biscuits.



Bellfield, J., Bimont, C., Blom, J., Dommeyer, C. J., Gardiner, K., Mathenia, E. & Soto, J. (2011). The effect of a cute stimulus on personally-initiated self-administered surveys. Marketing Bulletin, 22, 1-9.

Halford, J. C., Gillespie, J., Brown, V., Pontin, E. E., & Dovey, T. M. (2004). Effect of television advertisements for foods on food consumption in children.Appetite42(2), 221-225.

Leuthesser, L., Kohli, C. S., & Harich, K. R. (1995). Brand equity: the halo effect measure. European Journal of Marketing29(4), 57-66.



This 90 second advert, titled ‘Unloved’ is emotional, touching, heartfelt, and despite the title promotes love.

The advert follows the everyday life of 3 individuals, a bouncer, referee and a charity representative. After a tough day at work and feeling unloved and unwanted, they return home to their canine companion and all those unhappy feelings are replaced with love and joy. The advert was created by Mayhew Animal Home, whose pet rehoming facilities are often strained by the amount of animals they find unloved, abused and abandoned; emotions that are portrayed in the working day of the human characters.

The aim of the advert was to encourage people to adopt a dog and to inform of the vast and varied benefits owning a pet can bring. The advert shows that it could change not only your life but a dog’s too. The simple set up of the advert, from the brief title, emotional music and few words draws you into the story and makes you feel sympathy and empathy for the characters. The advert features the message ‘Unconditional Love. Adopt a dog’.

Research by Escalas & Stern (2003) found that sympathy responses mediate the effects of a consumer’s level of empathy, which will directly enhance the positive attitudes towards an advert. It was also found that higher empathy was found in consumers who had a preference for dogs and who already owned a pet, which could limit the wider target market (Merrill, 2012).

The message unconditional love, plays on a consumers motivational needs and importantly the need for love and companionship. Humans and animals share the social needs, and this involves expressing love.  The advert uses these needs to highlight the truth of what dogs can bring to people’s lives and the emotions a dog can make them feel. The advert also sends a subconscious message against aggression toward dogs through the use of the happy ending (Zillmann, Johnson & Hanrahan, 1973).

‘Unloved’ was aired during the coverage of Cruft’s, so the target audience the campaign is reaching out to are dog lovers, who have an interest in dogs or are thinking of adopting a dog. What makes this advert different? The advert provides a refreshing view of pet adoption, which does not show the animal being abused or dying e.g. RSPCA adverts. Instead, this campaign has taken an upbeat view to encourage people to consider adoption and has allowed people to relate to the dog’s perspective of abuse and neglect through antisocial human interaction. The campaign is changing perceptions to create joy and understanding, rather than sadness and sympathy.



Escalas, J. E., & Stern, B. B. (2003). Sympathy and empathy: Emotional responses to advertising dramas. Journal of Consumer Research29(4), 566-578.

Merrill, S. M. (2012). Individual Differences and Pet Ownership Status: Distinguishing Among Different Types of Pet Owners and Non-Owners.

Zillmann, D., Johnson, R. C., & Hanrahan, J. (1973). Pacifying effect of happy ending of communications involving aggression. Psychological Reports32(3), 967-970.

Homebase – Make your house a home

Homebase’s clever new TV advert highlights the idea that homes are special and personal places, which should be bursting with personality. The advert portrays a family who have bland decorating style in their home and they peel back the wallpaper and flooring, and switch furniture to find a whole range of patterns and products designed to suit them.  Homebase have scrapped their iconic shipping container adverts, used for 2 years, in favour of the new easy DIY adverts. The new home adverts are accompanied with garden adverts in the same style, with bright flowers popping up as the family pull out the weeds.

The aim of the advert was to create inspiration for consumers who wanted to take on a home improvements, big or small, to make their house a home. The new campaign features the slogan ‘Make your house a home’, which differs from the old slogan of ‘Make a house a home’. This promotes the idea that a house has to be decorated to make it truly ‘yours’. Slogans should create brand differentiation, brand recognition and recall. Mathur & Mathur (1995) found that changing a brands advertising slogan, will on average, increase the brands sales and annual profit.

The advert focused heavily on personalisation, as a home should be a reflection of a family’s personalities. The ever-changing styles and patterns featured in the video highlighted that consumers want to make a house personal and exactly how they want it. Homebase have created a place to be enjoyed with family and friends. Troung, McColl & Kitchen (2010) found that adverts promoting personalisation and individual needs, are perceived to provide a value added service. They found this results in the advert being perceived as more interesting and therefore becoming more effective.

The music featured on the advert was a debut single by Professor Bobo and Bosko Slim. The aim was the music would be exclusively associated with Homebase brand and the song was not released on iTunes until the advert had been aired. This could benefit sales of Homebase products and the music record.

Homebase used the social media to its full advantage, as Homebase Facebook fans were able to see an exclusive preview of the advert, creating consumer exclusivity. 5 days after it was aired, the advert had 166,000 views on YouTube and the Homebase website featured a selection of their ‘favourite products’ from the advert. The website also appealed to Twitter users with #madeitmine, showing a wide variety of media channels were used to promote the advert.

Overall, Homebase have created a fun, inspiring video appealing to a wide target market. The only downside is that the Homebase logo is not shown until the very end of the advert, suggesting that the brand is relying purely on the adverts story, slogan and music to be remembered. The advert has made home decorating look very easy and fuss free, something which will attract many families.


Mathur, L. K., & Mathur, I. (1995). The effect of advertising slogan changes on the market values of firms. Journal of Advertising Research.

Truong, Y., McColl, R., & Kitchen, P. (2010). Practitioners’ perceptions of advertising strategies for digital media. International Journal of Advertising,29(5), 709-725.


Sing It Kitty

This humorous and cute advert, which follows on from the dancing pony, is part of network Three’s promotional campaign to remind consumers about the enjoyment of sharing silly moments with friends. The advert features a young girl and her cat patrolling the neighbourhood on her pink tricycle, lip syncing to ‘We built this city’ by Starship.

Bellfield et al. (2011) found that a cute stimulus, such as a cute animal or young child, increases the emotional response to an advert, with females showing a greater response to the cute stimuli than males.

The success of the viral advert, was shown in the 2.5 million YouTube hits within the first few days of release. This suggests people are watching, paying attention and word-of-mouse is occurring (the sharing of the advert through electronic format). Success can also be measured through the recent popularity of the Starship song, which is currently back in the top 30 of the UK singles chart.

Music is key to the memorability of an advert as it can last longer in the memory than images. Hecker (1984) suggested that music could be the most stimulating component of an advert, and is used to positively arouse the consumer’s emotional state (Stout & Leckenby, 1988).

Three has attempted to make the advert accessible through as many media channels as possible, including social networking sites such as twitter using the trend #singitkitty. Three has also created a downloadable app where you can morph your face into the video. This appeals to a consumer’s satisfaction by allowing for customisation and making the advert experience personal.

The only downside of the advert is that the brand memorability could be easily lost in the bigger story of the girl and the cat. Three’s logo is not shown until the very end of the advert, creating a weak integration between the story and the brand. Overall, the advert is fun, upbeat and will appeal to a wide variety of ages. It has great re-viewing potential and at the minute this is one of my favourite adverts out there.


Belfield, J., Bimont, C., Blom, J., Dommeyer, C. J., Gardiner, K., Mathenia, E. & Soto, J. (2011). The effect of a cute stimulus on personally-initiated self-administered surveys. Marketing Bulletin, 22, 1-9.

Hecker, S. (1984). Music for advertising effect. Psychology & Market, 1, 3-8.

Stout, P. A., & Leckenby, J. D. (1988). Let the music play: music as a nonverbal element in television commercials. In S. Hecker & D. W. Stewart (Eds.), Nonverbal Communication in Advertising, (207-233). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.


Road Safety: Bleeding Billboard

Billboards are a common form of advertisement and are designed to catch your attention and create an impression very quickly. Billboards aim to leave the consumer thinking about the advert, even seeing it, so the adverts need to be quickly readable, eye-catching and simple. Unlike TV adverts, billboards are exposed 24 hours a day, which can create brand awareness and strong name recognition.

In Papakura, New Zealand, a billboard was created over the Easter holidays to promote a safe driving campaign. In previous years a large number of fatal accidents had occurred, especially in rainy driving conditions. The billboard featured the message ‘Rain changes everything. Please drive to the conditions’.


(Please note I do not own/nor claim to own these images)

However, this advert is very different to your typical billboard. The board features a young boy’s face and when it rains blood comes out from the child’s face. The campaign used the shock and fear factor to get the message across to drive safely and the use of a child creates maximum impact. Dahl, Frakenberger & Manchanda (2003) found that an advert that uses shocking content will increase attention, have a greater impact on memory and overall promote positive behaviour.


The location of the billboard, allowed the campaign to target the specific, intended audience and the message was frequently and continuously being delivered. So, was the billboard effective? Since it was created, there has been a 0% death rate in Papakura during the Easter holidays. Thornton, Rossiter & White (2000) found that the most effective anti-speeding adverts were ones that used a high level of fear and this resulted in more people driving under the speed limit.

Overall, billboards can be an extremely effective method of portraying a message and although the ‘bleeding billboard’ could be seen as disturbing and upsetting, it helped saved people’s lives.



Dahl, D.W., Frakenberger, K.D., & Manchanda, R.V. (2003). Does it pay to shock? Reactions to shocking and nonshocking advertising content among university students. Journal of Advertising Research, 43(3), 268-280.

Thornton, J., Rossiter, J., & White, L. (2000). The persuasive effectiveness of varying levels of fear appeals: An anti-speeding advertising experiment. The Australasian Marketing Journal, 1278-1283.


Guinness “Twins”

This inspiring advert, part of the Guinness ‘Made of More’ campaign, features the Barnes Twins and lets you be part of their Sochi Olympic Games Story. Both sisters are US bi-athletes, competing for their last games. Tracey Barnes qualified but her twin Lanny became ill and could not compete to qualify. The advert unfolds to show Tracey giving up her place for her sister. This advert is heart-warming, touching and most importantly a true story.

The advert is simple, using a black and white image of the sisters as the background, yet it is powerful. The story unfolds by using repeated text, emphasising the bond between the twins. The mood is set with the moving music, designed to make you connect to their story. The Guinness logo is not shown until the end of the advert, with the aim of the consumer aligning the inspirational story to the representation of the Guinness brand.

However, due to the US Olympic Committee rules, the advert could only be shown for a single day. The advert was not allowed on TV slots, billboards or online advertisements due to featuring Team USA members and the Guinness brand not being an official sponsor of the games (Budweiser was the official sponsor).

Emotion provoking adverts have been linked to enhanced memory and judgement (Friestad and Thorson, 1986). Emotional messages create stronger memory and more positive judgements, which could increase the sales of the campaign.

Although the advert was shown for a brief amount of time, it is still a powerful advert. The official sponsors of the Games have used the rules and regulations to eliminate competition and to make money. The irony is that the Guinness Twin advert highlights an act of selflessness and this captures what the Olympic spirit is all really all about.



Friestad, M., & Thorson, E. (1986). Emotion-Eliciting Advertising: Effects on Long Term Memory and Judgement. Advances in Consumer Research, 13(1), 111-116.


Google Chrome: Dear Sophie – Emotion better than humour?

Dear Sophie was part of the Google campaign “The web is what you make of it” and it consists of a father using Google products to create a 21st century electronic scrapbook for his daughter to see when she is older. This inspiring advert sets the emotional mood by showing Sophie’s biggest life moments so far, such as the day she was born and the arrival of a new sibling.

(Please not that I do not own/nor claim to own this video)

The emotional mood is enhanced by the uplifting background music of a piano and violin, capturing the target audience of young fathers and families. The simple, although hugely emotion-oriented, advert lets you feel as though you are being let into the developing story of Sophie.

What worked? The advert aimed to motivate the use of Google products, such as Google Chrome, Gmail, YouTube and Picasa. The advert cleverly introduces a number of these products throughout the video, without harsh promotion that would otherwise detract from the emotional story. The written language in the emails is emotion provoking and catalogues the ‘big moments’ in Sophie’s life, many of which parents could relate to.

The advert was clearly effective, as public comments under the YouTube video of the advert showed parents were creating their own electronic scrapbooks using Google software, even though users found that they could only create a Google account for their children aged 13 and above, in line with Google’s policy. This limitation, however, did not put people off from finding a way round this issue and continuing to use Google to create their electronic scrapbooks.

The effectiveness of the advert was in the use of an interactive tour of Google, highlighting the ease of use, even for busy parents. This inspiring and heart-warming advert suggests that emotion, not humour, can bring people closer and positively associate with a brand.


Honda Cog – A creative success advertising story

The ‘Honda Cog’ advert used car components to create a chain reaction, resulting in the new Honda ‘Accord’ car being revealed. Minimal computer-generated imagery was used, the advert was manually created, with the aim of it generating more appeal to the target audience. The advert was launched onto television at time slots to target males, car lovers and families, with the advert being commonly shown during high profile sporting events. The ‘Honda Cog’ was hugely successful both financially and influentially. So what worked?

(Please note that I do not own/nor claim to own this video)

The adverts success included the interactive, attention-capturing nature. You are eased into the sale through the progression of the domino-like sequence, with subtle hints of the cars new features and technological advances, until the end when the car is unveiled. The seamless link between the interactions of car parts makes it fascinating to watch for all ages.

At the time it was made, this advert was classed as unique, it did not conform to the advertising style at the time it was produced and the campaign was led. This generated interest and other car companies later used this interactive technique. The advert was very successful, with 10,000 people requesting a brochure after watching the advert. There was also high demand for DVD copies.

However, the advert does have its weaknesses. The ‘Honda Cog’ advert cost £1 million to produce, a lot of money to spend, especially when it was part of a series of two other adverts in a £6 million campaign. The advert was also very time-consuming to make, with 7 months production and 606 takes.

Overall, the ‘Honda cog’ was highly influential. Personally, from someone who is not an avid car fan, I watched the full 2 minute advert and it captured my interest and attention throughout. Honda as a company were trying to use the advert as a reflection of their cars, showing the high build quality and reliability.


Reflection on PNP3002

I found that motivation is a vital component in a degree and in university assignments. Motivation in education has been found to produce high quality learning, wider understanding and opportunity for personal growth (Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier & Ryan, 1991). The PNP3002 module was assessed through a variety of methods, including four blogs and two exams and I found that as the blogs were worth a big percentage of the module, I was more motivated to do well in them.

The chance to write blogs was rewarding, as I was able to choose a topic of my choice and write about something which was of interest to me. Cordova & Lepper (1996) found that personalisation and choice produced a big increase in student’s motivation and in the amount of engagement and aspiration towards learning.

In my opinion, having choice over a topic made me more intrinsically motivated to succeed, although I was still motivated to achieve a good grade. Intrinsic motivation is completing a goal for the interest and enjoyment aspect, not purely for an external reward e.g. a good grade. Lin, McKeachie & Kim (2001) found that students who were high in intrinsic motivation achieved better grades than students who were high in extrinsic motivation. I believe that because I was blogging about a self-chosen topic, I procrastinated less, as I was researching a topic I had genuine interest in.

In the module, students are focused on being intrinsically motivated, procrastinating less and feeling calmer about deadlines. Beswick, Rothblum & Mann (1998) found that procrastination caused lower grades and anxiety in students. I think being more intrinsically motivated has made me more efficient in researching and writing my blogs to a good standard.

In conclusion, I feel that having the opportunity to write about a topic of my choice was beneficial, as it made me more intrinsically motivated, caused me to procrastinate less and to be more efficient in the blog writing.



Beswick, G., Rothblum, E.D., & Mann, L. (1998). Psychological antecedents of student procrastination. Australian Psychologist, 23(2), 207-217.

Cordova, D.I., & Lepper, M.R. (1996). Intrinsic motivation and the process of learning: beneficial effects of contextualization, personalization and choice. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88(4), 715-730.

Deci, E.L., Vallerand, R.J., Pelletier, L.G., & Ryan, R.M. (1991). Motivation and education: The self-determination perspective. Educational Psychologist, 26(3-4), 325-346.

Lin, Y-G., McKeachie, W. J. and Kim, Y. C. (2001).  College student intrinsic and/or extrinsic motivation and learning.  Learning and Individual Differences, 13(1), 251-258.


The Emotional Benefits of Owning a Pet

It is now a common belief that pets are beneficial for their owners (Friedmann & Thomas, 1985). They found pets to be important in the family system, useful for therapy and promotion of health roles. This could be anything ranging from social interaction when dog walking or the physiological effects of pets on stressful situations. This blog examines how humans form attachment to their pets and the benefits of pet ownership on emotions and health.

Family pets, especially cats and dogs, provide factors of attachment that facilitate emotional and social well-being throughout a person’s life (Sable, 1995). Pets can bring comfort and decrease feelings of loneliness during stressful life situations, for example, divorce and bereavement. These findings have an effect on social services by highlighting the need to protect and maintain this bond for specific populations. This includes the elderly in nursing homes, retirement communities and individuals going through difficult times.

There is much evidence to suggest that humans form strong attachments with their pets, as they can provide a sense of security and caregiving (Archer, 1997). The mechanisms, however, that allow pets to elicit caregiving behaviours, were criticised. These mechanisms can cause pet owners to achieve more satisfaction from their pet relationships than human relationships, due to pets having an unconditional love that does not always occur with other human beings.

Children also form attachments to their pets, as pets can provide opportunities to develop emotions such as love and affection (Blue, 1986). The study found that these emotions, however, do not substitute for caring, interactive parent roles. Triebenbacher (1998) suggested that a pet can contribute to a child’s emotional wellbeing and this is due to children perceiving their pets as special friends, family members and emotional support.

Poresky (1990) believed that pets can aid a child’s social development of empathy, which is the ability to share the feelings of another. A child with a strong pet bond, had higher scores of empathy than children who had no pets. This view has been criticised by Daly and Morton (2003), as they found children with pets do not show higher empathy. Additionally, no difference was found in empathy between pet owners and non-pet owners and no link between empathy and attachment to pets, a factor which previous research had covered, for example Blue (1986).

Despite the conflicting views, later research by Daly and Morton (2006) further investigated the connection between children-animal empathy. Children who preferred and owned both cats and dogs showed more empathy, and a high attachment to their pet also produced higher empathy. Further research into human-animal and empathy relationship needs to be investigated in order to find a clearer explanation of the processes involved.

Another benefit of pet ownership is the wide range of improvements in health, including lower blood pressure, increased levels of serotonin and dopamine (creating a relaxed feeling) and reduced muscle tension and heart rate (Brodie & Biley, 1999). This can be utilised in the health service by nurses taking an active role in pet-visiting schemes to aid therapy. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) used animals alongside other standard therapies (Khan & Farrag, 2000) and it has been shown to improve physical, social and emotional functioning. Cole, Gawlinski, Steers & Kotlerman (2007) found that AAT using dogs was successful in being able to reduce anxiety in patients that were hospitalised with advanced heart failure.

However, Khan & Farrag (2000) investigated the animal health hazards of ATT, which included animal bites and allergies. This suggests that specific guidelines such as suitability of patients and animal infection control standards need to be in place before the therapy begins. A general criticism of pet ownership is that it is not beneficial for every individual and if you are not a ’pet person’ then owning a pet will not provide any therapeutic benefits or significantly improve your life (Helpguide.org, 2013).

In conclusion, research has shown that pet ownership can create a variety of emotions including, attachment, caregiving and affection. Further research showed a clear benefit of a child-pet relationship in a child’s development of empathy, however, earlier research had failed to identify the link of empathy and the pet bond. Pet ownership has benefits for the health industry by using therapies, such as AAT, although more regulations need to be put into place to rule out health risks. Overall, pet ownership has a positive impact on emotions and health.



Archer, J. (1997). Why do people love their pets? Evolution and Human Behaviour, 18(4), 237-359.

Blue, G. F. (1986). The value of pets in children’s lives. Childhood Education, 63(2), 85-90.

Brodie, S. J., & Biley, F. C. (1999). An exploration of the potential benefits of pet-facilitated therapy. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 8(4), 329-337.

Cole, K.M., Gawlinski, A., Steers, N., & Kotlerman, J. (2007). Animal-assisted therapy in patients hospitalized with heart failure. American Journal of Critical Care, 16(6), 575-585.

Daly, B., & Morton, L.L. (2003). Children with pets do not show higher empathy: a challenge to current views. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interaction of People and Animals, 16(4), 298-314.

Daly, B., & Morton, L.L. (2006). An investigation of human–animal interactions and empathy as related to pet preference, ownership, attachment, and attitudes in children. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interaction of People and Animals, 19(2), 113-127.

Friedmann. E., & Thomas, S. (1985). Health benefits of pets for families. Marriage and Family Review, 8(3-4), 191-203.

Khan, M. A., & Farrag, N. (2000). Animal-assisted activity and infection control implications in a healthcare setting. Journal of Hospital Infection, 46(1), 4-11.

Poresky, R. H. (1990). The young children’s empathy measure: reliability, validity and effects of companion animal bonding. Psychological Reports, 66(3), 931-936.

Sable, P. (1995). Pets, attachment, and well-being across the life cycle. Social Work, 40(3), 334-341.

The therapeutic benefits of pets. (2013). Helpguide.org. Retrieved December 1, 2013, from http://www.helpguide.org/life/pets.htm

Triebenbacher, S. L. (1998). Pets as transitional objects: their role in children’s emotional development. Psychological Reports, 82(1), 191-200.