In February 2011, an advert featuring Jennifer Lopez for 'Venus' razors by Gillette was aired. Many persuasive techniques are used in this advertisement in order to try and convince the public to buy the product.
The use of a physically attractive celebrity in this advert is the main persuasive feature, an example of the physically attractive-admirer altercast. Chaiken (1979) recruited physically attractive and unattractive students from the University of Massachusetts to deliver a persuasive message to others (which they had practised for standardisation), about not serving meat at breakfast and lunch in all university dining outlets. Targets indicated their agreement with this message via a questionnaire after the message. It was found that attractive communicators evoked greater agreement from targets than unattractive ones, and that female targets were more easily persuaded than males.
Not only is the female subject physically attractive, but she is a celebrity well-regarded by the target audience of females. This is a persuasion technique known as the high status-admirer altercast. Lefkowitz (1995) found that people were more likely to follow a person jaywalking if they were dressed in a suit (high status), than if they were dressed in denim (low status).
Jennifer Lopez is shown in this advert to be successful and confident (singing in front of a large crowd), fit (working out) and a family woman (playing with her children), all characteristics that the target audience aspire to be. Bandura (1986) explain that models who appear to have good character traits are more affective than others at prompting to behave similarly to them (using the product used by the model, in this case).
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Chaiken, S. (1979). Communicator physical attractiveness and persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1387-1397.
Lefkowitz, M., Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1995). Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 704-706.