Social Judgment Theory and Apple’s iPad

In class we discussed the Social Judgment theory. This blog post will first discuss what the Social Judgment theory involves and then will analyze the attached video titled “Together” an advertisement for the iPad produced by Apple. I chose this commercial because I see it all the time on television and it is one of the most current airing commercials from Apple.

Social Judgment theory plots a person’s attitude toward a persuasive message (in this case the iPad) once before and then again after the message is given to denote change. This theory uses a number line from -3 to +3, with zero being indifferent on the issue. According to the theory one must make a decision as to where his attitude sits on this number line. Once the point is made, that point and the area around it are known as the latitude of acceptance; this is the area where the person feels comfortable in his beliefs. A message will lose its persuasion if it falls too close to this latitude and may become assimilated, when the receiver perceives the message being the same as his attitude. Outside of the acceptance lays the latitude of non-commitment and past that is the latitude of rejection. A person is more open to a message that falls in his latitude of non-commitment because it is closer to what he actually believes; this latitude is like the grey between the white (acceptance) and black (rejection). If a message were to fall into the latitude of rejection the receiver would blow off the message and not find it persuasive at all because it falls so far away from the receiver’s beliefs. This is why messages that fall into the latitude of non-commitment are the most persuasive because it may cause a shift in the receiver’s attitude.

For the purpose of this blog post we will say that a -3 would be an attitude that wants no affiliation with Apple and will not buy the iPad anytime; where a +3 would be an attitude that is a big fan of Apple products and will buy or is going to buy this product. I would plot my attitude around a 0. I picked 0 because I am a fan of the innovations that Apple brings to the technological world but see no apparent need for an iPad. I have now set my latitude of acceptance and just outside that starts my latitude of non-commitment which extends to about -2 on one side and +2 on the opposing side. What is left would be my latitude of rejection. I would rate this ad somewhere in the positive area of my latitude of non-commitment and this is exactly what the advertisers want. By falling here, the ad has the most potential for persuasion. However, the theory does take into account the importance of the message. Being that the iPad is a pricey electronic to obtain, they market it by showing the gamut of things that can be achieved with the device in order to appeal to broader latitudes of non-commitment for many people. Overall, I would say Apple has made a persuasive message that outlined the many uses of an iPad. It is important for advertisers to understand a concept like the Social Judgment theory in order to effectively and concisely appeal to as many attitudes on the spectrum as possible.


-Phill Taner

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