Behaviour Change

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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Subway: Where Winners Eat




This is an advertisement currently used by Subway, aiming to change the public’s perception of Subway.  Subway is usually considered to be a type of ‘fast food’, but with their new advertisement campaign they are attempting to show the public that their sandwiches can actually be considered ‘healthy eating’. They have introduced low calorie options to their menu to reflect this.

They have used many persuasive tactics in this advert, including ‘association,’ as they have tried to form an association between Subway sandwiches and healthy eating.  The use of well-known Olympic athletes, Anthony Ogogo and Louis Smith, further solidifies this association as it implies that you can be an incredible athlete and still eat from Subway – thereby suggesting to the public that Subway is good for you.

Another tactic that has been used is the high status-admirer altercast.  By using high-profile Olympic athletes, they have endeavoured to make Subway sandwiches more appealing.  The athletes are now well-regarded celebrities who people look up to and aspire to be, and so the public will be influenced by what the athletes eat.  It is suggested that a recommendation of what to eat as part of a healthy diet is more convincing coming from an athlete than just an average member of the public as they are seen as ‘healthy’ role models (Barrow, 2009). 

The high status-admirer altercast has been supported by many empirical studies, including a study by Dix, Phau and Pougnet (2010), which found that famous athletes have a positive effect on product switching behaviour and customer loyalty.  It found that young adults are highly influenced by celebrity endorsements and perceive athletes as role models.  Bickman (1971) conducted an experiment in which men and women requested a lost dime to be returned to them from a phone booth.  It was found that people were more likely to return the dime when the men and women were dressed smartly, and therefore considered to be high-status, than when they were wearing work and casual clothing. 


Barrow, A.(2009). Effect of celebrity athlete models in food advertising on the perceived healthiness of food products. Oklahoma: Oklahoma State University.

Dix, S., Phau, I., & Pougnet, S. (2010). Sport celebrity influence on young adult consumers. Young Consumers: Insight and Ideas for Responsible Marketers, 11, 36-46. 

Bickman, L. (1971). The effect of social status on the honesty of others. Journal of Social Psychology, 85, 87-92.




1 comment:

  1. Could you say more about the Dix study? How was this done?

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