Smoking Kills... Hamsters?


Usually it's pretty easy to figure out what approach an advertiser is trying to use in an ad. It's very common to see and easy to identify strategies like sex appeal, celebrity endorsements, bandwagon approach, catchy tunes, repetitive message from a company icon, etc. This ad isn't like that:

This ad is completely bogus. How many people are ever going to kill a hamster because they smoke? Can the hamster's death even be blamed on the fact that the man smoked? Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that the hamster died because the man was too lazy to re-do the carpet or because the girl bought a bad cage for her hamster? Those were all thoughts running through my head after the first time I watched that ad a while back. I couldn't figure out what the heck the people who made that ad were thinking. Now that we've gone over Pavlov's classical conditioning I can kind of see what they were trying to do. They were trying to get us to associate smoking with the feelings of remorse we felt when the hamster was killed and therefore make us want to avoid smoking. While my mind stills rebels at the logic they tried to use, there is no denying that the ad was extremely memorable for me. Do you think this ad is effective even though it is so absurd?


I agree with you. Even though that little hamster's death is not relevant to smoking, he has probably contributed, at least on some level, to the deaths of some people, or hamsters, or whoever. If I'm right, the CS here is the image or thought of cigarettes and the CR is the negative feelings against them. According to the book, however, the CS should precede the UCS, right? Although the commercial effectively conveys its message, I wonder if it creates classical conditioning. Will somebody explain this to me?

The CS did precede the UCS. The worker was reaching or checking for his cigarettes. It is subtle, but these days it is something we all recognize. So you would have the CS- fellow looking for his cigarettes, UCS- hamster caught in the crossfire of man needing his cigarettes so badly he didn't see him undwer the carpet.....UCR-cigarettes don't just kill humans, CR- cigarettes kill humans and cause cancer. I don't know if this is right, but i tried.

Yes. I understood what you meant the CS preceded the UCS. Thank you. :D

Well, I agree that this is a really stupid commercial, but they still do convey the message that they were trying for: smoking kills. Yeah, obviously smoking didn't have any role in the death of this hamster, but it still used classical conditioning to make us relate smoking with death.

I agree with the rest of the you guys, the commercial is stupid. But I was kind of thinking that this commercial could have been marketed towards a younger audience to instill the harm of smoking and to do so they used a stimulus that a younger audience can relate (the hamster) because as we know many kids own pets like hamsters etc. But however you look at it the message was clear, smoking is bad.

I'm not sure why someone decided this would be a good ad to get people to stop or not start smoking. I could see maybe how younger kids could be affected by the commercial like Alexys said but I still think they could of used classical conditioning in a better way. Nevertheless it is still a good example of classical conditioning and how it works.

HA! Too funny... There are many preventive smoking commercials out there. Best ones you will never see because they are overseas. I thought this was great, and very relevant to the fact that I have been without a cigarette for seven days; coffee as well, but that’s another story. These types of commercials need to be put out there in the mass quantities, because if you didn’t think this was memorable or stay with you the next one might.

I think part of the reasoning the makers had was to make a different reaction associated with smoking. Most try for guilt, sadness, like "How could you let smoking control you to do a terrible thing to you and others?"
Here, most people are just left stunned initially. We are like, "Wait, did he just kill a hamster? Why?" Our reaction is not related to a smoker's actions, like others. It is to the commercial.
We are thinking about the commercial, we are thinking about what's going to happen next, how we would react in that situation.
We also have to admit, though, that none of that would have happened if he simply didn't smoke. Then the assumptions he had would be gone and things would have been better. That's the best conclusion we can make about it.

I think sometimes this kind of lame ad does have a huge impact on people. Just think about the song, Friday, by Rebecca Black. The song really sucked and all, but everyone knew the song because we all wanted to comment about how bad it was. I don't know if this kind of marketing use is directly related to the conditioning, but I think there is actually some kind of connection between them.

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This page contains a single entry by shilk005 published on February 25, 2012 1:21 PM.

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