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, February 15, 2013

Calvin Klein pulled advert




This is an advertisement that global brand Calvin Klein used with the popular message that “sex sells” to try and successfully market their product, especially to the younger demographic.
The suggestive nature and provocative stances of the models proved to be successful with the intended younger audience who bought into the notion that Calvin Klein is seen as a “sexy” brand. In a survey carried out by the British Standards Commission BSC (Bragg and Buckingham,2002),younger viewers were found to be less likely to express discomfort about seeing sexual content on television as age plays a key part regarding the degree of permissiveness. This is a good example of a persuasive method in advertising as it draws upon the notion that it is a credible source due to the use of models that are physically attractive(Chaiken,1979). However it was largely unpopular amongst adults and the add was pulled after just 24 hours. This was due to the fact that many people found the extremely young appearance of the models used to be upsetting and controversial. 
While suggestive advertisements are successful in accumulating interest, this advertisement pushed the boundaries too much as it combined the notion of sex selling with young people, without a doubt a risky area.
Parents would worry about the kind of message that the advertisement would convey, a topic again touched upon in the BSC survey (Bragg and Buckingham,2002) where many adults expressed concern regarding the overexposure of images of a suggestive nature on television. In a 2006 study(Brown,L’Engle,Pardun,Guo,Kenneavy,Jackson et al), it was discovered that exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines accelerated sexual activity and increased the risk of engaging in early sexual intercourse especially amongst white adolescents. Hence why the advertisement never really stood a chance of remaining.


Bragg, S., & Buckingham, D. (2002). Young people and sexual content on television. London: Broadcasting standards commission.

Chaiken, S. (1979). Communicator physical attractiveness and persuasion. Journal of personality and social psychology, 37(8), 1387.

Brown, J. D., L'Engle, K. L., Pardun, C. J., Guo, G., Kenneavy, K., & Jackson, C. (2006). Sexy media matter: exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines predicts black and white adolescents' sexual behavior. Pediatrics, 117(4), 1018-1027.

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