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.

Friday, February 1, 2013

‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’ is one of the most popular advertisements created by PETA. In this campaign different celebrities undressed to get public attention and persuade people to follow their example and not support companies that produce or sell clothes made of animal fur. The ‘go naked’ campaign used several effective means of persuasion and has become very successful.

PETA used popular singers from the American group ‘Danity Kane’ to promote animal rights. The singers stripped off and hid behind a poster ‘We’d rather go naked than wear fur’. Below the poster there are words in a small print: ‘Animals killed for their fur are beaten and often skinned alive. Be comfortable in your own skin and let animals to keep theirs. Don’t buy or wear fur.’ Celebrities’ involvement in advertising is influential because people often follow popular trends, and are curious about why celebrities promote a particular company.

Moreover, the advertisement used women’s body as a strategy (Grazer & Keesling, 1995) to promote an anti-fur campaign. The semi-nude models without doubt draw attention, they are beautiful, they look confident and happy. Although ‘Danity Kane’ singers catch attention, the advert does not make any sexual association. Overall, the advert has been presented in a good taste, and the idea to use nudity was an effective strategy. Sherman and Quester (2005) investigated nudity and the product-nudity congruence. They used a survey to measure attitude towards advertisement, brand, and purchase intensions. Then the participants were asked questions about different products. Latter, they were presented with some advertisements for approximately 20 seconds. It was found that the semi-nude congruent adverts created more positive attitude towards the brand and the advert.

PETA’s advert also appeals to consumers’ morality and feelings. Due to the inhumane treatment of animals (they are beaten and skinned alive) PETA advocates that it is wrong to kill animals for their fur. They try to convince consumers that wearing real-fur clothes is unethical, and that consumers should consider what the animals are going through. The advert plays on words and uses the association between an animal’s body and a woman’s body to draw attention to the ethics of wearing fur and leather.

Grazer, W. F., and Keesling, G. (1995). The effect of print advertising’s use of sexual themes on brand recall and purchase intention: A product specific investigation of male responses. Journal of Applied Business Research, 11, 47-58.

Sherman, C., & Quester, P. (2005). The influence of product/nudity congruence on advertising effectiveness. Journal of Promotion Management, 11, 61-89.

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