Characteristic’s of the person delivering the mess
Hovland and Yale found that experts are very persuasive people as we respect and trust their opinion, assuming that what they say is fact and has been researched and proven. An attractive source is also persuasive as the audience aspires to look like them and thinks the product will do so.
Giles 2003 suggests that celebrity product endorsement is successful because celebrities provide a familiar face - a reliable source of information that we feel we can trust because of the parasocial relationship that we have built up with that celebrity. Celebrities are also seen as a neutral source of information and so perform the function of reinforcing the advertiser’s claims. However some research on celebrity endorsement suggests that it is not as effective as we may think. Martin et al 2008 found that students would rather buy a product endorsed by a fellow student. The researchers claimed that young people like to make sure their product is fashionable among people who resemble them.
The message being presented
McGinnies (1966) suggested that if the audience is intelligent and/or critical, it is best to present both sides of the argument and show why one is a better option than the other. However, if the audience is less intelligent or already favourably disposed toward the side of argument being presented, a one sided argument is more effective.
Repetition of the message is used to have a greater impact on the audience, as it increases familiarity and liking.
Finally, fear can be used effectively if used the right amount – too much fear seems unrealistic and the audience cannot relate to it, whereas too little fear may not sufficiently motivate the audience.
The characteristics of the audience
This ensures the audience can relate with the message being presented.
McGuire found that people with extremely high or low self-esteem’s were the most difficult to persuade. People with very low self-esteem are too anxious and feel unworthy to be persuaded, where as people with very high self-esteem believe they are always right.
The age of the audience is not suggested to be an influencing factor on how easy they are to persuade, but Visser disagrees, arguing that the very young and very old are easiest to persuade. Martin (1997) also found in a meta-analysis of studies a strong positive correlation between age and understanding persuasive content. Older children could better distinguish between adverts and regular programming, and better understood the persuasive intent of the advertising. There have also been found to be strong correlations between exposure to commercial television and Christmas gift requests. contd..
...However, this correlation was stronger for children who watched television on their own than for those who watched with their parents, suggesting that parents somehow mediate in the relationship between advertisement and subsequent behaviour and are critical of advertising which influences the attitudes of the child.
Eagly (1978) found that women are easier to persuade than men, but Sistuck (1971) suggests this is only the case if the subject is a predominantly male one, which science may be seen as being, therefore females may be easier to persuade.