Persuasive science

Enough to grab your attention?

95% of people don’t wash their hands correctly after using the toilet.

Well it certainly grabbed mine – some of the Mustard team were enjoying a drink or two at the recent Manchester International Festival in Albert’s Square. With a belly full of gin and tonic, I could not hold it in any longer and had to venture into the public toilets close to the Town Hall.

I went about my business, as you do, and then went to wash my hands when I saw a sign with the message on ‘95% of people don’t wash their hands correctly after using the toilet.’

Now I consider myself to be a clean person with good personal hygiene. I am a bit of a sucker for anti-bac wipes and I always wash my hands when using the toilet. But am I washing them right?

Well I always thought I was, however, the moment I saw that message, it immediately came to me that in actual fact I was part of the 95% who do not wash their hands correctly (please don’t judge me…do you?!).

You know what else that message did? Seeing it immediately made me want to be part of the 5% who do wash their hands correctly. It influenced me to change my behaviour, so I spent extra time washing my hands that night, the correct way, as I was taught when I was younger. 

Did the message do what it was intended to do? Yes definitely, it acted as a subtle reminder to do something the right way. It used a powerful technique known as persuasive science, which is in part is about influencing and persuading people me to do something differently.

In everyday life we are constantly bombarded with messages and as researchers we often get to develop and assess perceptions of communications prior to them being launched into the public eye and then measure and track awareness and the impact thereafter.

If you want to talk more about persuasive science or need to conduct any research on your marketing messages then we would love to help you!

I never imagined I would write a toilet related blog but if you have any hand washing tips or views on persuasive science do get in touch.