Blog 6: Persuade Me

I think persuasion is one of the most fascinating topics in agricultural communication theory. While the chapter this week is in the “face-to-face” communication section of the book, many of the concepts apply to mediated communication efforts. The reading from JAC this week illustrates this point well. I think this study does an excellent job of incorporating theory into a study. As you read the JAC article, was your understanding of the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) changed? Did you agree with the authors’ application of ELM? What would you have done differently? Are there other theories of persuasion that you see as more appropriate for this study? Or ones that should have also been included?

The world around us is constantly seeking to persuade us to do something. As you study persuasion you will become more and more aware of persuasive techniques being utilized in your everyday life. This may be a friend or significant other trying to persuade you to go to the lake instead of studying. Perhaps the persuasion is less subtle and comes in the form of advertising. What agricultural ads or videos have you seen recently that utilize persuasive appeals? Post an example and tell us which appeals you think are used in the example you post. What other theories of persuasion do you see represented in your example? In the spirit of the comparison study we read in JAC this week, what anti-agricultural ads or videos have you seen with persuasive appeals? How does the anti-ag one stack up in relation to theories of persuasion?

18 thoughts on “Blog 6: Persuade Me

  1. Class,

    This week’s reading can be taken many different directions. As an agriculture advocate and communicator, I believe that being able to use persuasion is vital in order to allow others within the agriculture industry as well as within various aspects of life to see our point of view. The reading allows us to understand that various styles of persuasion can be used for all topics related to agriculture communication. As I read JAC, my opinion and understanding of the elaboration likelihood model did not change. I would not have done anything different as I believe the necessary steps were taken related to this topic. I do not necessarily think that other theories of persuasion should have been included. The theories that were included gave great insight into provided the appropriate study.

    In addition, the world around us is vastly changing and with that opens many doors for persuasion. Working each day to market and sell cattle from my family cattle operation, I must use persuasion. I am constantly persuading other cattle owners to believe in our product and create a need to buy one of our bulls or females. Most of the advertising that I witness each day is related to agriculture whether it be in the form of agriculture publications or even advertisements on RFD T.V. Due to my strong involvement in agriculture, those publications seem to be where I gravitate to for interest as well as simply reading for leisure. The example, that comes to mind that I have viewed lately is related to Certified Angus Beef. Many individuals who are not knowledgeable about the program believe that when they consume a CAB product that it is 100% black Angus beef. However, CAB can be only 50% certified Angus beef but it must certain muscular and carcass characteristics but may actually have red hide etc. The theory of persuasion that is used is the technique of educating individuals on the program as well as convincing them that CAB is the same regardless of the color of the animal. Being a registered Angus breeder, I understand the topic more than others who do not work as much in the field. However, by using persuasion in agriculture it is very important to remember that not everyone is knowledgeable about all topics.

    Next, the anti-agriculture sector that comes to mind is related to grass fed and grain fed cattle. I have completed some studies related to restaurants and food chains who believe that they only want to purchased certain kinds of box beef. My father is a cattle buyer for JBS-Swift and Company out of Omaha, Nebraska, and he has educated me on the different opinions that restaurant owners have when purchasing their beef. Those that raise and feed cattle understand 100% that grain fed cattle who have had corn in their rations will always be more pleasing to the taste. However, if a restaurant owner or manager does not realize that he or she may want only grass fed. In turn, a circle of persuasion comes into play sort of like the vaccination sector of the cattle business.

    I look forward to hearing each of your thoughts. Have a great week!

    Ashlyn Richardson

    1. Ashlyn,

      Thank you for providing your example about your family’s cattle operation. I agree with you that you understand the topic better than others outside of the industry. While I don’t work or quite understand the cattle industry or Certified Angus Beef, I still trust the industry, because it is part of agriculture. I think it may be easy for most people in agriculture to feel that way, and if they didn’t, hopefully they would pursue answers to their questions and not bash other agriculture industries. I’ve never met you, but I already feel a sense of “team” being in agriculture together, and working towards the same goals. Unfortunately, we can’t make that connection to those outside of agriculture as easily. We may be able to provide a “day in the life of a cattle producer” or something similar to individuals outside the industry, but how would their interpretation of our work affect their understanding? We can continue to educate and share information, but we also need to evaluate a different approach.

      Jessica Woofter

  2. The article evolved my understanding of the elaboration likelihood model (ELM), but left me with a few points I didn’t quite agree with. Chapter 9 introduces central and peripheral processing. Central processing creates a more permanent attitude change towards something as the receiver responds more on content or the argument. A receiver may also use peripheral processing, such as credibility, emotions, and graphics, but this form doesn’t necessarily create a strong change. In the article, the low-involvement and high-involvement receivers are added to the theory. Comparing the involvements, created a better understanding of the theory.

    High-involved individuals are more apt to be impacted by the quality of arguments and less likely of the imagery. This type of receive would rely more on central processing and the end result would be more permanent. On the other hand, the article stated an low-involvement individual is more impacted by the quantity of the arguments and more by the imagery. Source expertise also impacts this individual more. I don’t quite agree that the quantity of arguments affects a low-involvement receiver, as they would be most impacted by an initial interpretation of the message. Content affects a low-involvement individual differently than a high-involvement individual. A low-involvement individual may be immediately affected by the message, through emotions, but the attitude change doesn’t stick. A high-involvement individual may not be initially impacted, but looks toward the credibility of the source. If an attitude change is implemented, it is more permanent. Both will use central and peripheral processing, but the more one relies on central processing, the more long-term the attitude change.

    My interpretation of the book doesn’t quite line up with what I interpret the ELM to show as receivers use both processing in order to change their views. A low-involvement individual may be more impacted by the Human Society’s webpage’s approach due to the imagery, but a high-involvement individual is more impacted by a webpage similar to the Animal Agriculture Alliance due to the content and sources.

    Another theory that could be used in the study is the cognitive dissonance theory. Should a low-involvement individual receive a negative message about a food they consume regularly, they may become concerned. This creates inconsistency as they are not comfortable consuming that particular food until they know if the message they received was credible or correct.

    I’ve really struggled to think of an agriculture persuasive advertisement, so I just thought of Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer.” I think this video really appeals to emotions. Once, the emotions are involved, the content is explored. “I need some one to sit up all night with a new born colt, and watch it die, and dry his eyes and say, maybe next year.” is a quote pulled out of the video since the JAC article was over animal welfare. This quote shows that farmers care for their animals and aren’t just a profit. Throughout the video, Harvey explains the life of a farmer, which in return combats the views that farming is detrimental to the environment, and factory farming isn’t necessarily true.

    I typed “Monsanto” into google and found many anti-agriculture images. One image has a monster farmer, with stitched up corn, and several other “dark” depictions of agriculture. There is a lot going on in the image, which makes an individual look closely at all of the pieces, but would be very appealing to an individual with low-involvement in agriculture. It may even be confusing to the point that an individual may think it doesn’t apply to them. This confusion also would allow for some one to ask questions – and hopefully ask an advocate of agriculture. If I were asked by an individual outside of agriculture and didn’t know about Monsanto to describe this photo, I would incorporate both sides of the argument. For the stitched up corn, I would explain that the anti-agriculture community uses this symbol to describe GMOs, then describe their concerns of GMOS, but also incorporating the safety of the plants and how genetic alterations provide greater yields to supply the world. Here is the image:

    I encourage you to google Monsanto images, it’s pretty discouraging that most of the images are of those from anti-agriculture and not from the actual company.

    1. Jessica,

      After reading the article, I too had a better understanding of the elaboration likelihood model.

      When you discuss the low-involvement individuals being impacted by quantity of the arguments, I see where you are coming from with your point that the most impactful portion would be the initial interpretation. I would also point out that people who are less involved might see “x” number of sources and think to themselves well this must be credible because they have so many sources to back it up.

      I had not considered the cognitive dissonance theory as another theory that could be used in the study but you bring up some really good points! I like your example of food consumption, and how that would definitely bring discomfort into someone’s life.

      I love how you mentioned Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” This is one of my all-time favorite commercials. They did such a great job at appealing to individuals emotions and making the connection that hard working caring farmers are the same farmers who produce the food on the table.

      Kelsey Tully

    2. Jessica,
      I enjoyed reading your post. I thought the book and what I interpreted about the ELM to match up but after reading your post, I am now questioning what I thought. You bring up very good points about using both low and high processing in order to change views. I never thought about using the cognitive dissonance theory but I agree with you based on your points. I wonder if the researchers would come to new findings if they took into consideration the theory.

      I also typed in “Monsanto” into google but my first ten pictures were all positive images along with the company logo. I wonder why our search engines would filter different results. Does google use an algorithm based on our search history? It was not until I was at the bottom of the page that I found negative imagery. The negative imagery I found followed your description of “dark depictions of agriculture”.

      I like that you brought up Paul Harvey’s video. I often find that the video resonates highly with those involved in agriculture while those outside of agriculture do not find it impactful. I think this could be because they are not highly involved in the message so they just see the animals not the people caring for them.

      Christina P.

    3. Hi Jessica,

      I really enjoyed reading your discussion post as it made me think of many aspects I hadn’t thought of previously. I agree with you on the cognitive dissonance and how it affects consumers’ thoughts toward food. I think you did a great job explaining how high-involved individuals process imagery and what sources of information they rely on.

      When remembering the “So God Made a Farmer Video,” I too think of the “…try again next year” quote. I fondly remember this commercial and how much sharing it received on Facebook. I sometimes wonder if this video could have been only getting shares, views, and likes from those within the agricultural community? Would it have been beneficial to do a strategic communications campaign around it to reach a further audience scope?

      Additionally, after reading some replies from classmates, I too find it strange that we all are getting different search results when Googling “Monsanto”. Most of my image results were positive, but there were some “dark” images scattered amongst the positive ones. I also found it reassuring that most of the web results were positive, reliable pages from Monsanto, instead of results from an unreliable, third party page.

      Great thoughts! I enjoyed reading your post.

      – Anissa

  3. I really enjoyed this week’s reading on persuasion. This topic is not only beneficial in my everyday life, but extremely important when it comes to agriculture and understanding how to best persuade people as well as understand how anti-agriculture groups like PETA and HSUS are getting individuals to “succumb” to their belief systems. With this knowledge the industry is better equipped to get ahead of them and better educate individuals.

    As I read through the JAC article my understanding of the elaboration likelihood model did not necessarily changed, but I feel like I definitely got a better understanding of the model by having it explained in a different manner, as well as, being put into a real-life scenario. The article goes into greater detail on circumstances regarding low and high-involvement. Their example of the HSUS using more science and university based sources and “stacked” sources, really drove the point home that low-involvement audiences are more likely to be persuaded by these tactics.

    I did agree with the authors’ application of ELM. I felt they did a good job of explaining what ELM was and then gave great examples to back it up. Like mentioned above the examples they gave of HSUS using more science based sources and stacking their sources more, persuade their low-involvement audience. They also stated that the AAA tended to cater to high involved audiences, which I feel is a big issue, and they had more farmers as sources. They also mentioned the use of photos would also have a higher influence on lower-involved individual’s peripheral queues, because they did not have to think much about the topic and it was readily available.

    Taking into consideration this is the first time I have read about the elaboration likelihood model, and I am no expert on this topic, one recommendation that I do have, is come up with more examples of how low and high involved individuals are affected by different variables. I am a very visual learner, I would have also appreciated a chart or table deciphering what is what. I feel like the ELM theory has a lot of variables to it and in writing it can get a little much to keep up. A visual aid would have been helpful to keep the information straight.

    Two theories that that I think would complement the ELM theory, or possibly take its place, are the theory of reasoned action and the social judgment theory. I feel like the theory of reasoned action could be useful to predict the behavior of the anti-agriculture groups or the individuals not sure about agriculture. This could allow the industry to figure out how they can be one step ahead and solve the problem before it even becomes an issue. I also feel the social judgment theory would be another acceptable theory to use. By deciphering between the latitude of acceptance and latitude of rejection, once again, the agriculture industry could try and get ahead of the issues before they arose. This would be possible by gauging what people found to be acceptable and not acceptable and seeing if educating the public would play apart in their acceptance of certain issues.

    I do not have cable, nor have I had cable for a few years now so commercials are kind of a foreign thing to me know, which is crazy. The fact that I had to go look for an agriculture add to answer this question, to me, is worrisome in its self, and also another example of why we need to advertise more and more in different forums of media as agricultural communications majors! With that being said, I did find a really good ad for Land O’Lakes Inc. ( It compared a farmer to many other professions like teachers, lawyers, and doctors but at the end of every sentence, they stated, “the farmer, he must feed them all.” This commercial persuaded individuals that farmers are just like any other profession that is well trusted but they feed all the other professionals. The video uses strong images as well, to further drive the point home that farmers are just like everyone else trying to make a living and they are not terrible people.
    I feel like this ad would most likely fit the elaboration likelihood model. The video contains messages that could be both perceived through central and peripheral processing and the purpose of the ad is hopefully to get anti-agriculture individuals to jump on board and see the good that agriculture has to offer.

    Recently, I have seen a lot of adds from Chipotle that are concerning to say the least. Some of the captions read, “Pork from farmers, not factories” and “chickens raised with care not chemicals.” These phrases appear on billboards with a picture of a burrito next to them. To a low- involvement individual this could easily sway them that agriculture’s products are unsafe and unhealthy to consume.

    1. Hi Kelsey,

      Your point about many agricultural communications catering to farmers and those who will, most likely, centrally process the information is very interesting. Clearly, agriculturalists are interested in that information, but is it reaching peripheral processors too? Maybe we, as agricultural communicators, need to define that audience so that we can better reach them.

      Your argument for the use of the theory of reasoned action in the JAC article is also intriguing. I had not thought of that but it does make sense to predict audience behaviors in order to fully educate them. I agree that, along with predicting the audience, the latitude of acceptance would have to be figured out so that the campaigns would have maximum positive effects.

      The Land O’ Lakes commercial was wonderful! It reminded me of the “So God Made a Farmer” ad in many ways. I feel, though, that it is probably more easily understood and appreciated by agriculturalists and maybe not as thought-provoking to those outside of the agricultural world. As we all have said in many ways on this blog, I think that we, as agriculturalists, need to do a better job of making what we do and why we do it understandable for the public that knows little about farming. I think that ad fits in perfectly with last week’s comment by Dr. Baker about the message of farmers feeding the world. I’m part of agriculture so I suppose I’m biased, but I really enjoyed watching that commercial!


    2. Kelsey,

      I really enjoyed reading your post. We have many of the same thoughts and opinions related to persuasion. It is very interesting to me that you have deleted cable from your house. I notice each day that I do not take the time to watch TV and often times wonder why I even have it myself. Although, other than when I watch RFD TV I do not see any form of agriculture advertisement. The local country radio station caters to the farming communities in our area but as far the local television stations, they are all located in larger suburbs of Missouri that do not focus on agriculture. Perhaps this thoughts gives us some insight into why people are not as knowledgeable as we want them to be within our business of feeding the world. Definitely something we should take into consideration is creating more advertisement based on agriculture. Tractor and truck commercials are important to us as agriculturalists but truly does not educate those that are not. We should look into specific agriculture ads. Great post! It certainly made me realize many things that I had not previously taken a look into.

      Ashlyn Richardson

  4. As we all know, persuasion advertising is everywhere. I am using the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) for my thesis and I find it very interesting. In fact, after reading articles about the theory and then reading this week’s JAC article and book explanation, I feel like I have a better understanding of the ELM. The JAC article about HSUS and AAA was a good read and is very relevant to what we are doing in this major. I might have guessed that HSUS would use more images on their website and I think most people would guess that they would not turn to farmers first for their messages; however, I think that it is good to have scholarly research to back up those assumptions. The use ELM as the main theory for this study was appropriate as they were looking at websites and images that seek to persuade people to change their attitudes about agriculture. It seems that, peripherally, HSUS’s website is quite effective. People don’t have to check credibility or the quality of the sources because there are lots of images that portray animals with human characteristics to evoke emotional responses from the public and change attitudes about agricultural practices.

    On the other hand, AAA’s website uses fewer pictures and more scholarly and researched sources to counter HSUS’s claims. In the study, one of the research questions focused on sources and source credibility to determine how effective the website’s persuasion is. This fits into the ELM well because argument quality and credibility are important pieces of central processing. It takes more processing, or high-involvement, to centrally process something, but a campaign is more likely to be successful if the audience uses the central route. The reason many anti-agriculture photo campaigns change attitudes is because images tend to be effective at changing those who peripherally process information, even if those changes are short-lived.

    I think that the social judgement theory could also relate to this study. It could be argued that the social judgement theory was used to persuade people to believe something other than what they currently believe. Both HSUS and AAA were trying to change people’s beliefs and, perhaps, even their behaviors by putting either anti-agriculture or pro-agriculture images and information on their websites.

    Since I don’t have access to TV at the moment and have been reading more textbooks than magazines lately, I struggled to find an agricultural ad for this post. I know that they exist but I found many more anti-agriculture ads than I did ads promoting agriculture. Perhaps I did not search the right keywords or did not look in the right places, but I just couldn’t find very many good examples. In my search, I typed “agriculture” into Google. The search results included a link to the dictionary definition of the word and the USDA’s website. I then searched “anti-agriculture,” fully expecting to see familiar groups like PETA and HSUS. I didn’t. The results page was full of pro-agriculture websites with factual information and educational sources. I found that very interesting and think that those searches show good examples of two-sided messages with real evidence, unlike those of anti-agriculture groups.

    During my searching, I ran across an agricultural news story that highlighted the 2013 Super Bowl agriculture TV ads. While I do enjoy watching football, though I rarely know what’s going on, I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials and, in recent years, I watch for the agricultural commercials. We’ve all seen the “So God Made A Farmer” commercial; it was very effective because it connected with people in many ways. Farmers, of course, loved it because it told their story. Many people recognized Paul Harvey’s unmistakable voice and felt nostalgic. Even non-agriculturalists were emotionally impacted by the beautiful photography in the ad. No doubt, it was an ad that inspired a lot of central processing. However, the top ranking ad that year was the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial. I love horses and am unashamed to admit that I eagerly wait for the Clydesdale ads each February and the 2013 commercial did not disappoint. In fact, it made me cry. The video features an adorable foal that grows up with a puppy. I believe that only the grumpiest people could watch this ad without feeling something. The ad follows the horse and dog into adulthood, shows them feeling sad and missing each other and then ends with a joyous reunion. This ad is an example of the social judgment theory in that people could relate to the emotions in the ad and they did not change their attitude toward Budweiser or agriculture. It also brought in the peripheral and central processing characterstics of the elaboration likelihood model.

    I recently saw a commercial on TV for new I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: It’s Vegan and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: It’s Organic. The advertisement was short and begins with a man and woman sitting at a table with a bowl of salad and a tub of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Then two men pop out of a cloud, announcing that the product now comes in Organic or Vegan. The camera pans out and you see that the couple is sitting on top of a bunch of asparagus.
    While this advertisement did not say anything directly related to agriculture, that was the first thing that came to my mind. In fact, my first reaction was to roll my eyes at yet another mention of the “organic” buzzword. My next thoughts were about the dairy industry. While there were no references to dairy, vegan products cannot have dairy in them, and therefore, it is implied that it is dairy-free. The reason I thought about dairy first is because of recent Facebook posts that my dairy friends have put up about the challenges that their farms and industry faces. In part, due to persuasive media, the price of milk and the public’s assumptions about what’s in our milk has been of great concern recently.

    When I saw the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter ad, it made me think. The ad portrays lots of natural things, but I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is not a natural product. Clearly, because the people in the commercial are eating salad while sitting on asparagus, we’re supposed to think that these products are healthier. But, are they really?

    I think that the elaboration likelihood model and the social judgement theory can be applied to this advertisement. Even if you don’t agree with vegan and organic fake butter, it still catches your attention. If you are vegan or organic, this ad falls within your latitude of acceptance because it is something that you agree with, something that you desire. In regards to the ELM, one can connect mostly peripherally with this ad. A teacher once told my class that Hollywood never puts something in a movie without a reason. I think that applies here too. The ad’s argument is simple as it tells you that the butter substitute tastes good. It uses music and images to convey unspoken messages about how healthy the product is and everybody in the ad seems happy. It doesn’t motivate the viewer to think long and hard on a heavy topic but, instead, is attractive and seems to be credible. Though there aren’t any blatant anti-agriculture pieces to this ad, there are suggested, peripheral pieces that could persuade someone to change their habits or attitude toward conventional, non-vegan agriculture.

    Because I think of myself as a central processor, I am not going to run to the store when I’m done writing this to buy these products. I won’t do that for several reasons, the most important being that I am a real butter girl; however, I know people who I imagine are jumping up and down with joy because this exists. These people could be more peripheral processors or they just may not care enough about what’s in their fake butter product to think much about it.
    I do realize that this example is not a straightforward agriculture ad; however, I think that it is important to the agriculture world because it’s powerful. People don’t like to be told what to do; hence the reason we use persuasion. A lot of today’s agricultural advertising just spits out cold, hard, sometimes judgmental facts at people though.

    When I think of persuasion, I think of emotions. It’s much easier to persuade someone to like you or to do something for you if you can play on their emotions. In the same way, I think this commercial does that well, and I think that, from an agriculturalist’s point of view, is scary. This commercial seems innocent and silly, but it is advertising a product that takes everything agricultural off the table, literally. Just as the JAC article about HSUS mentioned that they used lots of images and non-agricultural sources to make their points, this ad uses feelings and a happy setting to capture attention. I wonder why we in the agricultural industry don’t use the same tactics more to educate people. I know that this exists but I think that it could be used more and would be effective, at least on a peripheral level, at drawing people into share our message.

  5. I really enjoyed this week’s readings on persuasion. These readings came at a perfect point in my lessons with my students. We are starting parliamentary procedure and have been focusing on proper discussions. These readings and the ELM model have helped me gain a better understanding of how to teach my students to persuade the other side about their intended topic in a business meeting and in real life.

    Along with my current career as an educator, I found this week’s article and reading to be beneficial to help myself understand how anti-agriculture groups are increasingly obtaining more buy-in from the public. A better understanding will help me understand how the opposite side persuades others while assisting me in becoming a better communicator about agriculture.

    This article helped me to understand the Elaboration Likelihood Model more effectively than the text. I am a learner who learns best by learning through examples. This article helped me visualize the model in real-life. As we have talked about persuasion and credibility, it was impactful that I knew one of the writers as a professor during college. Many of my sorority sisters talked highly of Dr. Abrams, and she even spoke at one of our scholarship events. Her credibility and personal experience with me helped persuade me peripherally to engage and read her article thoroughly.

    When reading through the research question findings, I found two techniques that HSUS utilized as interesting. They numbered their sources cited, which caused many sources to be listed more than once. This sense of false credibility coupled with an emotional persuasion through pictures of animals with human like characteristics gave HSUS a great job of applying peripheral processing. This type of processing will likely draw those who are not a highly involved audience.

    I do not watch television that frequently with my busy lifestyle, but while I was getting ready one morning this past week, a commercial for a local insurance agency came on. While this did not seem like an agricultural advertisement at first, upon further reflection, it fits into the category. This advertisement featured local farmers, one in particular was another local agricultural teacher. This ad was highlighting the insurance the bank offers to local farmers. With a severe drought affecting many crops in North Dakota, the ad was building credibility by showing the viewers, they knew what was happening and how to help soften the impact on farmers. Utilizing another local agricultural teacher in the ad helps create credibility by showing a common face seen all over the town.

    Another example that comes to my mind is the common call to FFA convention videos shared all over social media by different states. This ad is not used through traditional channels, but it serves a purpose to persuade people to come join in the fun and learning that members experience at state and national FFA conventions.

    Like many of my peers, I typed in Google: “anti-agriculture ads” and was appalled by the results. One of the first images that showed up was one that hit really hard for me. The image (pictured below) is from It tells the public to forgo drinking one gallon of milk or 27 showers to help with the drought. They are wanting the public to stop drinking the milk. They are preying on the public to do the sensible thing which is to shower over drinking milk. I find it absurd as an agricultural educator to be comparing milk to showering but that is what this ad is doing. This ad will be attractive to the low-involvement individuals. The link to the ad is here:

    1. Hi Christina,

      I really enjoyed reading your post. I agree that having examples of the various theories, including the ELM, have proven to be helpful in gaining a better understanding of the material.

      You pointed out a few key findings in the JAC article. The first thing that you pointed out was the HSUS’s use of source-expertise as a persuasion tactic. By numbering their sources and citing many sources multiple times, the HSUS established credibility. In addition to that, the use of images and videos of animals on the HSUS website appealed to emotion. While I’m not a supporter of the HSUS, I would agree that they were very effective at appealing to an audience with low involvement levels through the peripheral processing route.

      Applying this to Proposition 2, I understand why the HSUS was so effective at passing animal confinement legislation. The HSUS was very strategic and went after organizations that people with low and high levels of involvement would likely deem “credible”. A few of these include professors from the UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM), which is one of the top ranking veterinary schools in the country, and the California Veterinary Medical Association. Additionally, the HSUS used disturbing imagery of mistreated animals and cows being pushed by forklifts. If I didn’t know any better, I probably would have voted to pass the legislation based on those factors, alone. This goes to show that the HSUS was very strategic in their use of peripheral cues to persuade voters in California.

      Thank you for sharing the example of the insurance commercial in your area. It sounds like the advertisement used ethos by showing an agricultural teacher that has respect in your community.

      Like you, I was appalled by the advertisement that you shared. In the ad, two persuasion tactics stood out to me including: debt and moral appeal. The advertisement makes people feel guilty for showering and implies that if people give up drinking milk, they will be able to shower without feeling guilty. Additionally, it makes people feel like they are doing a good thing by giving up milk because they are doing their part to “help” during the drought.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the material this week. You always have great points to share.

      Alyssa S.

  6. The JAC article was a great supplement to the Chapter 9 reading, and I believe that I gained a better understanding of the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) after reading the JAC article. The article allowed me to better understand the impact of source expertise and images on people with high-involvement levels and people with low-involvement levels. Because people process persuasive messages either centrally or peripherally, it is important that we craft our persuasive messages to be received through the most appropriate route.

    Living in California, I am very familiar with Proposition 2. Why were the agricultural groups, who were urging people to vote “No” on the proposition, so unsuccessful? The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) HSUS crafted messages that would be received peripherally, while the opponents of Proposition 2 crafted messages that would be received centrally. According to the JAC article, studies infer that the HSUS has been more effective than the Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA). As it relates to Proposition 2, it makes sense that the HSUS was more successful. Many voters did not take the time get educated on the proposition. The HSUS has a lot of University and Veterinary support. Additionally, the HSUS used a lot of photos and videos in their messaging, which likely had a high impact on the attitudes of the voters. In this instance, I wouldn’t be surprised if the HSUS tailored their messages to reach people with low-involvement levels, rather than high-involvement levels. The short-term goal of the HSUS was to get the proposition passed, and that is exactly what happened.

    Overall, I agree with the authors’ use of ELM, and I think that it was very applicable to the study. In the future, it would be nice to see a similar study conducted to look at the use of compliance-gaining tactics from both the AAA and the HSUS. Marwell and Schmitt (1967) outlined 16 different compliance tactics, and it would be interesting to conduct a study to see which ones were used the most by the HSUS and the AAA.

    When thinking about different advertisements that use persuasive appeals, I thought of the Real California Milk commercials. One of my favorites can be viewed at: California has a very mild climate, and the weather is referenced by the pig in the video. In this ad, I noticed a few different compliance-gaining strategies that were used. Based on the list of compliance tactics that Marwell and Schmitt (1967) proposed, there were two that stood out to me. The tactic that stood out the most was self-feeling (positive). At the end of the video the narrator states, “Great milk comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.” This statement is used to persuade consumers to buy milk from California because they are “doing themselves a favor” by purchasing/drinking “great” milk. Moral appeal is another tactic used in the ad. The video implies that the cows are happy because they are raised in a good environment; thus, by drinking milk from California, consumers are supporting something that is morally good.

    If we apply the ELM to the Real California Milk video, I think that the video uses the peripheral route of persuasion. I would consider the pleasant imagery in the video to be classified as peripheral cues. Thus, based on the ELM, less cognitive effort would be involved which may result in temporary attitudes that are more prone to counter-persuasion.
    I recalled an anti-agriculture ad that I saw played a countless number of times back before Proposition 2 was passed in California. The video can be viewed at As you can see in the video, source expertise and images are used as persuasive appeals. The video also appeals to emotion. The video opens with a professor from the UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine saying that she is voting “Yes” on Proposition 2. Also, at the end of the video it shows that the proposition is supported by the California Veterinary Medical Association. This type of credibility has an impact on both people with high-levels of involvement and people with low-levels of involvement. The video also shows images of animal mistreatment, including a cow being pushed by a forklift. Moreover, it shows an image of a happy dog. These peripheral cues appealed to emotion and were obviously very effective, as evidenced by the passage of Proposition 2.

    All in all, I really enjoyed the readings. If we are to be effective agricultural communicators, a solid understanding of these types of theories will be important.

    Alyssa S.

  7. This week’s reading was interesting to apply it to my life and past experiences with persuasion. In addition to learning about persuasion, I also felt the cognitive dissonance section was beneficial. I have previously taken psychology classes and communications courses, yet none have explained it as well as this book did. The JAC article was also a great tool to apply what we learned in the book and examine a research study. Throughout the article, my understanding of the ELM was not changed. I believe the authors did a good job of weaving theory within the study. However, as a next step, I think it would be interesting to further this study by identifying and looking into the audience side of things (those who are processing centrally vs. peripherally) to see if what we perceive to be persuading is really persuading or if there are other factors at play. I don’t see a more appropriate theory to use for the basis of this study. Although, I believe cognitive dissonance could be utilized and examined in future work surrounding this study and studies similar.

    When thinking of an agricultural ad or video as an example, it was quite difficult to come up with anything. On the other hand, I could quickly recall the last Chipolte ad I have seen (besides in this class). Eventually, I decided the last agriculturally-focused “ad” or mode of persuasion I’ve seen is a video I worked on this summer during my internship. The video was focused on dairy sustainability in California and our target audience was not the general public, but more of the decision makers and policy leaders of the state. The video includes both patho and etho appeals to your emotion by showing families and playful calves and using sound, trustworthy sources to relay factual information. The video can be found on the homepage at

    As for an anti-agricultural advertisement, I recall a Chipolte commercial I saw on TV the other night. Unfortunately, I don’t recall many of the details of the ad because I was also doing other things, but I believe it is another ad in their series of the “real” food campaign. It highlighted a giant burrito made with “real” ingredients throughout the whole thing, and I believe it appealed to the cognitive dissonance aspect of people. “If that is real food, what have I been eating otherwise?” question that starts to grow in consumers’ minds. I believe the advertisement utilizes images and typical words we use, know, and suppose to be beneficial for us (such as real), even if their ingredients don’t differ from other restaurants. Additionally, I think it is important to note that food is a low-involvement purchase that I would bet is more often than not, processed peripherally. When these ads are peripherally processed, it can be easy to quickly assume that Chipolte’s food is better for you – especially when it shows images of a giant, delicious-looking burrito.

    – Anissa

    1. Anissa,
      I thought that your idea to further the JAC article study by examining the audience’s view point of the organization’s websites was intriguing. It would be interesting to get this further information and see who actually is processing the information and whether or not it is processed centrally or peripherally. The cognitive dissonance theory would also be an appropriate theory to evaluate with this study, as you suggested. As viewers saw the content of either site, it would be interesting to know their previous cognitive understanding of the matter to evaluate whether they were experiencing discomfort from the discrepant information. I know that I experience this when I see anti-ag videos, like the chipotle commercial you mentioned. Their “food with integrity” motto always makes me cringe, because I believe that modern agriculture practices also raise food with integrity.
      I agree that the Chipotle ads are processed peripherally. They lack factual information and rely on utilizing peripheral cues to appeal to viewer’s emotions. These ads work to slant the consumer’s view of modern agriculture and raise up Chipotle’s services as “better” or “healthier” or “more sustainable”, without question of evidence. I too chose a Chipotle video example and it seems that most of their ads are using similar persuasive methods.

  8. As I read the JAC article my understanding of the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) was developed further. The JAC article gave a very relevant example of ELM in our field. The use of ELM for this study was useful because they were examining how people process the messages from two opposing organizations, HSUS and AAA. From the campaigns and content that I have seen from HSUS, it has always been very visual and emotionally stimulating. It was not surprising to read that HSUS had significantly more photos and videos on their website, making their peripheral cue affective to those with low involvement. When I think of the times that I have seen messages from HSUS shared on social media platforms, it always comes from friends who have no personal connection to agriculture. These people don’t seem to care too much about the facts and science behind the message, but rather care about the immediate emotions generated from photos or videos. For example, I’ve seen friends share HSUS photos of bloodied sheep (which were most likely taken out of context) and declare that they will be throwing out their $200 Ugg boots (whether they really did, I couldn’t say). Wow! The persuasive power of that photo was effective. The photos served as short processing cues and rely on the viewer’s emotion.

    On the other hand, AAA had more scholarly resources such as research and presentations available on their website. While the messages may be stronger and logical on the AAA website, they require an audience that is interested in spending time understanding and learning more about the topics. These central cues also require an audience who feels that the information is important, has time to investigate and has little distraction.

    One pro-ag persuasive advertisement I thought of from Cotton Inc. This company has produced many advertisements featuring celebrities and a catchy tune that goes “the touch, the feel of cotton! The fabric of our lives.”, you’ve probably heard it! I looked up on of their commercials featuring Hayden Panettiere, a young, beautiful and successful actress. It features her walking to the tune of the cotton song in different stylish accents and fun events. With absolutely no conversations or script in the video, it relies on exploiting the actress’s physical attraction and peripheral cues to attract people’s emotional desires. Viewers might think, “I love her and her outfits are great! I should wear cotton just like her!”. Views are most likely not thinking “I should purchase more cotton clothing items to support the cotton industry,”. This video is on youtube, here:

    One anti-ag video that I remember watching a few years ago was the “Scarecrow” video by Chipotle. The video depicts modern food production as an industrial “factory farm” process in the three-minute screen time. There are cows and chickens picture in confinement and being pumped with what is assumed to be antibiotics and hormones. This video is similar to the Cotton video I mentioned above in that it relies on utilizing peripheral cues to appeal to viewer’s emotions. The cartoon video depicts an unrealistic message of modern agriculture and seeks to take advantage of people who do not have expertise on the matter. By slanting the consumer’s view of modern agriculture and raising up the food chain’s own practices, customers trust this cartoon message and feel better about themselves for eating “food with integrity”.

    -Hannah A.

    1. Hannah,
      You had a very good take on this week’s blog and thoroughly enjoyed reading your response. I agree that HSUS is very emotionally stimulating, to me I think with the heavy role social media plays on our everyday lives I think it is perplexing to not want to create an ad that responds to the peripheral route processing, as sad as it is it seems that people these days respond more to pictures that are out of context than they do scholarly resources and actual accurate facts. I have a hard time understanding how PETA has supporters but then I see the out of context videos they post and I see how its ads play superficial characteristics to attract more followers and attention. After reading this I also have changed my attitude of chipotle I do not like the unrealistic message that this ad portrays on modern agriculture.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. This article left me with a foundation around the ELM model, after the reading I could understand the basic information surrounding this model however it left me wanting to learn more so that I could explain it in a much simpler form. I know that to elaborate on something it means to break it down and really think long and hard about it. Elaboration is used in our everyday life especially when we are going to make a big purchase like buying a car. Most people before they buy a car elaborate on the decision, they research what car is best for them, maybe watch commercials, and maybe talk to friends. On a daily basis we don’t normally do this much work on elaborating but that is the whole idea behind this model, how likely are you to elaborate and think hard on what you see and hear? The truth is we are all humans and we have all encountered a time in our lives when we can be persuaded by an attractive or smart person and sometimes even make a decision without totally thinking about it. Yes I am sure we have all made a decision that we have later regretted. While I did agree with the author’s application of ELM I myself preferred to dig deeper and make a connection with this model so that I could better understand it. How do we as a listener evaluate messages we receive from ads? Will people be more likely to be influenced by what a message conveys or superficial characteristics?
    I chose to use this video because I found myself responding to the peripheral route processing. I am not typically a fan of KFC because I have witnessed someone get food poisoning from their popcorn chicken however I am a huge fan of “The Game of Thrones.” In this ad we see Hodor from GOT and a very influential scene with him is recreated in KFC, I found myself being influence to try the “chicken and fries,” because of something like one of my favorite GOT characters being in the video which is really not that important. I know for a fact that this commercial did not cause me to use central route processing because I really didn’t think hard about why I was craving chicken and fries I just simply wanted it because of my connection with GOT.

    In regards to anti- agricultural ads, as much as I am not a fan of PETA they do have the persuasive appeal down to a science. This is how come they have managed to stay around and even garner the support of A- list celebrities even though they often advertise false information. There are many PETA ads that persuade people to have a negative perception about the agricultural industry in general.

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