Analysis of Joechemo.org website

This essay is an assignment on the subject of The Internet-Based Persuasion. Part of the Coursera course; Social Psychology by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, United States.

The website strengths

The website is using both central and peripheral persuasion to make young people to not smoking or stop smoking. The central persuasion techniques used in the website among them are facts, statistic and arguments given after each answer in the Tobacco IQ quiz. And the graphics for the mascot and icons in the page (the peripheral persuasion technique) complementing it, creating an attractive website.

The character, Joe Chemo himself, and his story is the most persuasive part of the website. First, his striking picture on the home page, made visitor in an instant (Thin slices theory) attracted to him and arouse curiosity to find out about him. And once visitor knew him on the about page, that just led them to want to know more about his story. And his story is where the persuasiveness took place. Because somehow, the story made us realize the similarity between us and Joe (Robert B Cialdini, The Science of Persuasion)

Based on persuasiveness framework developed by McGuire, W.J, we can see that the website had used both credibility and attractiveness to give informational messages sometimes with a little bit of fear appeal via the website as the source to young receiver to invite them to make a decision to not smoking or stop smoking if they already a smoker.

Compared with more traditional methods of persuasion such as magazine advertisements, television commercials, billboards, and other techniques, the website is superior because it’s interactiveness. Young people can actively engage with it. And they can be part of the campaign by sharing it with their social circle.

The website is equally persuasive when it comes to preventing nonsmokers from smoking or getting smokers to kick the habit. It emphasizes in not to start smoking, but also provide tips on quitting.

The website effect on me personally

As a non-smoker the website can be a useful tool for me to spread the message. I like how the Joe camel’s life story builds its persuasiveness in a very casual and interesting un-boring way.

I also like the quizzes and how I was served with facts and arguments after each answer and explained with the correct answers when I answered wrong. I also like the complete information I could get whether I am smoker or not.

I also like how that Joe Chemo character was a more honest image of R. J. Reynolds’s Joe Camel character. It gives me a familiar background story with completely different impression.

The website weaknesses

I think this website could be made more persuasive by increasing its appeal to young audience. Because young people tend to follow the trend, the website should build with current trend too. So it will look very attractive.

Because I have a computer science background so naturally my suggestion will not far from this field of study. In my views, it can be rebuild with HTML5 and CSS3 in latest design color and layout so it will be looks more modern and trendy. It can be connected to Facebook and Twitter for example, so visitor can share the campaign to broader audiences.

This essay effective grade is 10 of 10 points. Which is simply the grade  received from peers.

These are peer’s assessor comments about this essay:

peer 1 → I thought your work was clear and applied social psychology theories well. You clearly analysed the website and had interesting opinions on it, especially as a non-American viewer. I myself am not American, but they did sell Camel cigarettes in my country so I am familiar with it. It is definitely interesting to read a statement written by someone who is less familiar with the image. Well done!
peer 2 → Certain points could have been explained a bit better. Overall, a nicely written analysis.
peer 3 → It is a very good analysis, it has a lot of excellent point and conclusions. Writing is super clear and insightful.
peer 4 → i like the way structured your analysis and the way you give your own opinion

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