28 Feb


In our ‘Issues in PR’ class today we talked about the use of ‘nudges’ in PR. Using ‘nudges’ is a very interesting concept, and it concerns that we can guide or ‘nudge’ people in the direction we want by organizing and presenting products in a way that affects their choices. This theory is adapted by several big companies and governments who want to change the audience behaviours to for example go for vaccinations or to not throw garbage in the streets. The model seems to have change from persuasion to trying to understand psychological characteristics and find out how to change behaviours this way.

One example of a “nudge” is choice architecture. Have you ever thought about why things at the grocery stores are placed where it is? The placements of products on the shelves are designed to make you as a consumer take certain choices. Like for example putting discount wares on the end of each aisle, fruit in eye-level or gum and chocolate by the counter so it is easy to pick when queuing.

Moreover, a framework that is used when talking about nudges is the mind space framework:


So how can we use the model of mind space in PR? It is very interesting to see if it works in real life, and there are many examples that show that it really does!


In our class, we got a case concerning how to solve the problem of urine spills at men’s toilets by using the mind space framework. We thought that one way to do this could be to put a dartboard drawing inside the toilet so the men could try to aim at it. When we told our idea to our teacher, she showed us an example of a similar case. In the Netherlands they installed a fake fly in the men’s toilet at the Schiphol Airport. The results showed that this small action really worked in solving the problem, and spilling were reduced by 80%.. This illustrates that it s possible to change behaviors by understanding the psychological factors affecting the audience, which in this case was that they could make men aim more at the toilet by giving them something fun to aim at.

I find the theory of nudges very interesting, and if you do as well you should read the book: Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. Buy it on Amazon by following this link:


Lecture Notes ‘Issues in PR’ class, University of Westminster 2013

Images in courtesy of:, University of Westminster



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