Theories of persuasion are essential components of the sunscreen and coral reefs campaign project

Running head: CAMPAIGN PROJECT 1




COM 318

Dr.Jennifer Hoewe

John Hu


Campaign Project: Theory

Theories of persuasion are essential components of the sunscreen and coral reefs campaign project. Persuasion theories refer to mass communication approaches that explain how a message changes the values and attitudes of the audience. These theories also explain why people are persuaded to accept a particular message and change their behavior. Some of the common theories of persuasion include social judgment theory, the elaboration likelihood model (ELM), and reasoned action theory. Crucially, understanding the framework of persuasive messages will help in designing a successful campaign project.

Social judgment theory (SJT) is a critical persuasion theory. This persuasion approach states that individuals make a judgment about the content of the message by considering the point of the anchor on the topic (O’Keefe, 2004). Considerably, social judgment theory proposes that persuasion occurs at the end of the process where the audience compares the message with the anchor’s position. SJT dwells primarily on the audience’s attitude, which is categorized into the latitude of acceptance, rejection, and non-commitment (Atkin & Smith, 2008). For instance, when delivering the campaign message, the anchor will establish their stance on sunscreen pollution. The anchor should advocate that sunscreen pollution is a threat to marine biodiversity and coral reefs. Having this standpoint will persuade the audience to adopt acceptance latitude.

The theory of the elaboration likelihood model also applies to the campaign project. ELM theory states that elaboration occurs when a persuader presents a message to the audience (Geddes, 2016). It also posits that the audience uses reasoning and motivation to accept or reject a campaign message. For instance, an audience with high-level elaboration tends to use central route processing to scrutinize the message because they experience high motivation (Geddes, 2016). On the other hand, the audience who experience low-elaboration level use peripheral route processing and do not scrutinize the message because they do not have adequate information about the topic. As a result, when designing the campaign project, the message should clear and informative to elicit a high elaboration experience among the audience. Consequently, the campaign content design should be captivating and appealing to distract and persuade the audience with low elaboration and motivation levels.

Overall, theories of persuasion play a crucial role in mass communication. They help in explaining how a message can be delivered to the audience successfully. Understanding attitudes, values, reasoning, and motivation of the audience is core in designing campaign content that will persuade them to change their behaviors.
















Atkin, C. K., & Smith, S. W. (2008). Social Judgment Theory. The International Encyclopedia of Communication.

Geddes, J. (2016). Elaboration Likelihood Model Theory – Using ELM to Get inside the User’s Mind. International Design Foundation,’s%20Elaboration%20Likelihood,or%20low%20level%20of%20elaboration.

O’Keefe, D. J. (2004). Theories of persuasion. The SAGE handbook of media processes and effects, 269-282.

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