Social Judgment Theory & Pepsi Next Commercial

The social judgment theory is easiest shown on a line graph, and shows a person’s current opinion about a topic, and their tolerance level on things that vary from their opinion. To determine the where the a person’s tolerance level is, a line graph is drawn with the numbers -3 through 3 on it with -3 being that they are entirely against the topic and 3 being that they are completely for the topic. Once this area is plotted on the line graph, another area can be plotted with the limits of what the person can tolerate that vary from their opinion. Anything else is intolerable and will be rejected by the person regardless of what is being said.

If someone wanted to convince another person to change their opinion of something, they would have to try to convince them little by little in their tolerance zone. An example of this would be if, for example’s sake, Bill wants to convince Charlie that he should eat his burgers at a lower level of wellness, but Charlie likes his burgers cooked extra well done, and his tolerance ends at medium. To convince Charlie to eat burgers that are a little more well done, Bill would probably start by making Charlie a burger that was medium. After a few times of eating burgers that are cooked to medium, Charlie might learn that he actually does like burgers that are cooked to medium and his tolerance could move from stopping at medium, which could be -2 to being a little closer to rare which could be -3.

The article above is a commercial for Pepsi Next. Pepsi next is a diet soda that claims to have real cola taste with 60% less sugar. In the commercial, a mother is trying to get her baby to get her baby to smile while she is video taping him. Her husband then comes home with Pepsi Next and once the mother tries it, her and her husband freak out and claim that it is the best thing that they have ever tasted. While this is happening, the baby stands up and dances in the background, but the parents never see this because they are preoccupied with the Pepsi. I for one have never really liked the taste of diet sodas, and before I watched this commercial, I would say that I would rank me consuming diet soda at a -1 with a tolerance level somewhere around a 0 to -2. This commercial didn’t change my opinion. The message that I got from this commercial was that drinking Pepsi Next is going to be the most amazing thing that will ever happen to you in your life. It will be so amazing, and you’ll be so preoccupied by it, that you’ll miss the amazing things that your kids will accomplish in their lives. This ploy drew me away from this soda. I for one would not want to miss my children’s life over a soft drink.

All in all, I think that the social judgment theory is an accurate theory to use in figuring out people’s opinions of things, and how to potentially convince them to think differently. As long as one goes about it the proper way, I think that the social judgment theory is an accurate and effective tool.

-Travis Wyss


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