How a visual cue and different types of language can influence the attitude of people towards healthy food advertisements.

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The world has become increasingly unhealthy. Obesity rates are climbing and people are consuming progressively more unhealthy food. Therefore, unhealthy food consumption should be decreased while healthy food consumption should be promoted. For this reason, the current study attempts to influence the attitude of people towards healthy food advertisements. More specifically, this research was interested in the influence of specific types of language and the presence of a visual indicator on the attitude of respondents towards the healthy food displayed in the advertisement. The types of language used were language that focused on the nutritional benefits of the food (nutritional language) and language that focused on activating sensory/emotional associations with the food through the use of sensory language (indulgent language). Alongside these two types of language, a standard description was used as a baseline (basic language). The visual indicator used was a hand holding a piece of cutlery, indicating that the food would likely soon be eaten. A within-subjects design was used, where respondents saw six different advertisements containing six different dishes and each different combination of language (basic, nutritional, indulgent) and a visual indicator (present or not). Respondents were asked to rate the advertisements on perceived desirability, persuasiveness and credibility. Analyses showed that only one significant result was present. Advertisements with basic language were perceived as more credible than advertisements containing nutritional language. Nevertheless, these results do contribute to research on healthy food advertisements since we know that this type of manipulation is not effective, meaning other methods should be explored.
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