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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Better Safe than Sorry *subject to change

Overview of project: The topic we have come to an agreement for this group assignment is birth control by promoting safe sex. We chose this topic because we realized that it is relatable in our generation, the Millennials, as most of us are in our young adults phase. But most importantly, the concern for baby abandonment going around in our country that led to the opening of baby hatches such as OrphanCARE Foundation in Kampung Tengku, Petaling Jaya and KPJ Healthcare in hospitals across Malaysia, where people could leave their unwanted babies at the centers made us want to raise the awareness of safe sex in the community. Thus, we have decided to act on this part of issue through the promotion of safe sex as sexual behaviour is considered common following time (Harding, 2007). Our two intended target would be male adults and female adults. Condom will be promoted to the male adults audience while contraceptive pills are for the female adults audience. We hope that through these two posters, people will be more aware of the importance of having safe sex and ultimately, we hope to reduce the number of abandoned babies in the society.

Design Choice 1: Using a pregnant woman and a slim lady as the main illustration of the poster.

     Justification 1: Opposing the idea of being pregnant, the image of a slim lady is showing that a young lady does not have to bear with all the difficulties that a pregnant woman will have to go through during pregnancy. Without getting pregnant, a young lady is able to have more freedom in her daily life and she also has lesser restrictions compared to a pregnant woman. Sriyasak et.al (2016) stated that women generally need to deal with both physical and social changes when they first step into parenthood. The change in body shape and the increase in the size of their breast are among the few changes that most women will face during their pregnancy. Sriyasak et.al (2016) mentioned that unintended parenthood could also play a role in how they engage themselves into the new parental role, and it might helps them to adjust and establish new goals in life.

These two images are used to elicit the opposing thought of before and after pregnancy. As we all know, a pregnant woman not only need to bare her baby for nine months, but she alo needs to take care of the baby after her pregnancy. This is why the pregnant woman in the poster tilts her head downwards and shows her worries of being pregnant. Therefore, these two images are essential to make the female adults audience to think of the importance of birth control as well as to imagine their life after giving birth to the baby.

Design Choice 2: Pink color as the background color for female-targeted poster

Justification 2: Research study done by Keskar (2010) has indicated that pink colour is associated with femininity. In relation to that, women were found to show higher reaction time when they were presented with the content on a background colour related to female, which is pink (Fan & Cong, 2016). The pink colour, in this case, acts as the cue that attracts females' attention towards reading the content. This is somehow helpful especially in attracting those who are not interested in reading the posters at the first place. To explain this phenomenon, as women spot the pink background colour, they might relate the poster towards themselves in a shorter time. In other words, they are more likely to interpret the information presented on the poster in a relatively faster way. Furthermore, according to Fan and Cong (2016), females rated the information as more credible when it was attached on a pink background. With this, by using pink colour as the theme colour for this poster may increase the persuasiveness of the information, and hence, trigger them to perform the desired behavior as they would easily give in to those information.

Design Choice 3: Blue color as the background color for male-targeted poster

Justification 3: Blue colour, when referring to the research study of Keskar (2010), is found to have an association with men. Besides that, it also represents a sense of confidence (Kesker, 2010). As male adults are looking at the poster, they might somehow feel more confident because of the effect of blue colour background. In this case, the process of classical conditioning is applied through the pairing of blue colour background and use of condom. Initially, male adults feel more confident (unconditioned response) when looking at blue background (unconditioned stimulus). Over time, they may slowly associate the feeling of strong confidence (conditioned response) with the use of condom (conditioned stimulus). Feeling confident can be considered as some kind of pleasurable feeling, which can act as a strong motivator that triggers behavioural change (Fogg, 2009). In other words, male adults might have higher motivation to use condom simply because they want to possess the pleasurable feeling of having strong confidence, and this indirectly helps in promoting the target behavior, which is to prevent pregnancy.

Design Choice 4: Baby bottle and condom

Justification 4: In this poster, we used baby bottle and condom to make comparison between these two elements. This is because we are using classical conditioning to send out the message to our target audience, the male adults. Classical conditioning as proposed by Ivan Pavlov (1927) has been widely used in marketing, specifically the advertising industry (Allen & Madden, 1985; Gresham & Shimp, 1985; Grossman & Till, 1998; Pornpitakpan, 2012). When a favorable or relatable image is paired with the brand or product, the consumers are more likely to remember the brand and the message intended (Grossman & Till, 1998). This also increases the probability of having a behavioural change in our target audience.

  Explanation of conditioning process:

US: Condom

UR: The feeling awkwardness of looking at the condom

CS: Baby bottle

CR: The feeling awkwardness of looking at the condom

In this poster, the neutral stimulus is the baby bottle, and the unconditioned stimulus is the condom. The unconditioned response here is the feeling of awkwardness looking at condom. With repeated pairing of neutral stimulus and unconditioned stimulus, the neutral stimulus, which is the baby bottle will become the conditioned stimulus and it will elicit the conditioned response, which is the feeling of awkwardness when people look at condom. We hope that by pairing up condom and baby bottle that look alike in this poster, male adults will feel that they have the responsibility to use condom whenever the time comes. Through associating condom with baby bottle, we hope to send out the message that without the use the condom, there is a possibility of the occurrence of unplanned pregnancy regardless whether they are couple or it was a one-night stand. We also hope that male adults will take the initiative and responsibility when it comes to family planning, and they should use condom if they are not planning or ready to have children.

Design Choice 5: Baby products as the background in female-targeted poster

Justification 5: Baby products are used with classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is used as people's behaviour can be changed through classical conditioning (McSweeney & Bierley, 1984). A research done by Grossman and Till (1998) found that attitude can be developed through classical conditioning and the impact is long-lasting; it is also noteworthy that behavioural changes are often influenced by attitude. Thus, in this poster, we hope to develop a positive attitude of safe sex among female adults.

 Explanation of conditioning process:

US: Baby products

UR: The feeling of fear due to responsibility of a mother

CS: Pregnant woman

CR: The feeling of fear due to responsibility of a mother

In this poster, baby products such as diapers, milk powder, pacifier, baby car, baby walker and baby toys (unconditioned stimuli) would elicit the feeling of fear in female audience due to the responsibility that comes after they give birth to their babies (unconditioned response). Before conditioning takes place, the pregnant woman is the neutral stimulus. However, with repeated pairing of the unconditioned stimulus and neutral stimulus, the pregnant woman in the poster is now the conditioned stimulus and it elicits the conditioned response, which is the feeling of fear due to the responsibility of a mother. Through this poster, we hope that female adults will have a pregnancy plan and they should use contraceptive pills if they are not ready to have a baby.

Design Choice 6: Baby products as the background in male-targeted poster

Justification 6: Baby products are used with classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is used as people's behaviour can be changed through classical conditioning (McSweeney & Bierley, 1984). Grossman and Till (1998) found that attitude can be developed through classical conditioning and the impact is long-lasting; it is also noteworthy that a positive attitude on a product is able to change one's behavior.

Explanation of conditioning process:

US: Baby products

UR: The feeling of fear due to responsibility of a father

CS: Baby bottle

CR: The feeling of fear due to responsibility of a father

In this poster, baby products such as diapers, milk powder, pacifier, baby car, baby walker and baby toys (unconditioned stimuli) would elicit the feeling of fear due to the responsibility of a father (unconditioned response). Before conditioning takes place, the baby bottle is the neutral stimulus. However, with repeated pairing of the unconditioned stimulus and neutral stimulus, the baby bottle in the poster is now the conditioned stimulus and it elicits the conditioned response, which is the feeling of fear due to the responsibility of a father. Through this poster, we hope that male adults will take the initiative and responsibility of family planning. We also hope that they understand the responsibility a father has in the family, and they should engage themselves in safe sex and planned parenthood.

Design Choice 7: Position of positive images

Justification 7: The positive picture that is trying to be explained in this section would be the picture that is supposed to elicit the want or need to use our promoted product which are contraceptive pills and condoms. The positive picture for the female poster would be the slim -figured female who is not pregnant, while for the poster targeted for males, it would be the condom on the left-hand side (refer to poster).  Both the positive images are put on the left side due to the neuroanatomical structure of our brain.  Past research suggested that perception of the brain is not symmetrically lateral, the left hemisphere is better for verbal recall while the right hemisphere is more towards non-verbal recall, such as pictorials matters (Rettie & Brewer, 2000). As the brain receives visual information in a contralateral manner, past research found that there were better recall of images when they are positioned on the left-hand side of the products (Rettie & Brewer, 2000). This brought us to position the positive picture on the left side of the poster.

Design Choice 8: Position of texts in both posters

Justification 8: The texts are placed in the center quadrant and beneath the images because a study done by Garcia, Ponsoda and Estebaranz (2000) found that when the texts are based beneath the images, they tend to receive more attention compared to when the texts are placed above the images. The researchers further explained this by stating that people are more likely to look at a printed advertisement longer when the texts are at placed below the images, and they also have better recall of the images and texts when tested (Garcia, Ponsoda, & Estebaranz, 2000). Therefore, the texts are placed below the images so that they catch the attention of our target audiences.

Supplementary information:

Fonts and Hashtag

We used Aharoni as our choice of font in our poster. Aharoni is a San Serif font which is simple and clear (Bryan, 1996). San Serif fonts are good “display fonts” which were designed to be seen clearly even at a long distance in posters and advertising signs. (Ambrose & Harris, 2005; Rabinowitz, 2006). Since the text in both posters are short and precise texts, the san serif font is more compatible compared to serif fonts (Bryan 1996). The bolded text with san serif font makes it easier to read especially when the posters are view from far (Conover, 2003; Tinker 1965).

There is also a common hashtag in both posters. “#” is the symbol for a hashtag. The hashtag allows the public to join in for a topic. Bruns and Bregess (2011) noted that hashtag plays a role in publicizing social issues as it helps to broadcast the message to a wider range of audiences. The hashtag allows the public to search for relevant information across different platforms which will increase the chances of a topic being recognized. The hashtag also plays a role in facilitating knowledge and access to the retrieval of information (Small, 2011). Additionally, a hashtag is a strategic move to increase the topic's virality in terms of its message and social movement (Lotan et al., 2011; Papacharissi & De Fatima Oliveira, 2012; Wang, Liu, & Gao, 2016). Hence, we included a hashtag to spread the message to our targeted audience and potential audience.

In both of the posters, we are using #Bettersafethansorry to help raise the awareness and importance of having safe sex through condom or contraceptive pills. The term “better safe than sorry” means that it is better to think rationally about a situation than to make a harsh decision, so that we do not regret the choice afterwards. To demonstrate this, a couple or a pair of strangers should think twice before having an unprotected sex because it might lead to unplanned pregnancy.

 Location of the posters

We plan to display the printed posters near convenience stores, and universities in our community as these are the places that we can reach out to most of our target audiences. Behe, Bae, Huddleston, and Sage (2015) found that individuals who have more involvement with the products tend to pay more attention to the products and the elements in the posters. Surprisingly, they also found that these people spend more time to process the information than people who are not familiar with the products (Behe, Bae, Huddleston, & Sage, 2015). In other words, they try to understand the message in the posters or advertisements more carefully and in-depth (Behe, Bae, Huddleston, & Sage, 2015). This is also consistent with the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) which proposes that people are generally more involved in the products that are more relevant to them (Petty, Cacioppo, & Schumann, 1983). Condoms and contraceptive pills are mostly used by young adults and adults, and they can be found in most of the pharmacies or even convenience stores in Malaysia. Other than that, nowadays high school students and university students are sexually active, and this is becoming more common in our society. Having said that, there are still reported cases of abandoned newborn babies found in public restrooms or even dumpsites, and it seems to happen both in rural and urban areas. Although there has been an ongoing debate on the inclusion of sex education in the syllabus, students should be well-aware and informed on the importance of safe sex. By placing the posters near these places, we hope that the public, especially our target audiences will buy either condoms or contraceptive pills if they are not planning to have a baby.

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