Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nike: Find Your Greatness

One of the most interesting advertising campaigns of the Olympics was by Nike. Adidas, Nike’s major commercial rival, paid £100000 for its official association with London 2012, but it seems as if Nike’s campaign was in fact more effective. Nike ran a campaign with the slogan “Find Your Greatness”. It is a powerful advert that shows an overweight boy pushing himself to his physical limit.

This advert focuses on one of Packard's (1957) eight hidden needs, reassurance of worth. It informs the lay-person that just because they are not a top athlete in the Olympics it does not mean that they cannot find their own greatness. This creates an association between the brand Nike and how the brand will help the everyday person push himself to reach their greatness. Therefore, the advertising campaign is forming a link between Nike and something positive. Research has shown that pairing something neutral (names) with something positive or negative causes the positive or negative meaning to become associated to the neutral target (Staats & Staats, 1958). The results showed that without the participants being aware the negative or positive meaning had been conditioned to the neutral names.

This is also an example of the advertising technique “stealing thunder” (Pratkanis, 2002, p.49.) as Nike has managed to lessen the effect of their rival Adidas’s original campaign by championing an everyday person’s struggle to reach their full potential. This causes the Adidas brand to be detached from the life of an everyday person.

Packard, V. (1991). The hidden persuaders. Penguin Books.
Pratkanis, A. R. (2012).  The Science of Social influence: Advances and Future Progress. New York, NY: Psychology Press. 
Staats, A. W., & Staats, C. K. (1958). Attitudes established by classical conditioning. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 57(1), 37.

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