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.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Diet Coke Puppets

This is an advertisement created by Diet Coke to promote their new ‘Love it Light’ campaign. The target audience is clearly women as they are their primary consumers. Due to the ever prominent media pressures for women to aspire to be slim, resulting in the majority of women dieting, Diet Coke it being advertised as something that can be incorporated into women’s ‘healthy’ diet. This advertisement doesn’t execute its goal efficiently and additionally restricts the audience by just targeting women.
Diet coke has created lots of successful campaigns to promote diet coke for women, including their collaboration with Benefit, with their designer bottles and cans.
 This effectively taps into the female audience, creating collectable-type cans and appealing to those girls who love fashion and pretty things. However, this new campaign using puppets is hugely flawed. This advert is trying to appeal to women by using questionably ‘glamorous’ young women (puppets). They are trying to promote the idea that when you’re having a stressful time or have had a bad day, you should drink coke to cheer you up, relax you and make your day better. However, the use of puppets abruptly stops women fully relating to the characters within the advert. Additionally, this advert is incredibly sexist and stereotypical. Granted, their target audience is women, yet the implication that all women do is shop, fake tan and get wined and dined is derogatory and may deter some women from wanting to affiliate with these characters. Rossi and Rossi (1985) gave 137 students 10 advertisements with sexist content and 10 control advertisements, which they were then asked to rate on a 5-point like/dislike scale. They were then presented the same 20 advertisements in another random order and had to rate them on a 5-point sexist scale. Women ranked the target advertisements as less appealing and more sexist than men did.
Therefore, the new coke advert not only has sexist implications, but it also restricts their target audience by not attempting to appeal to men at all. Furthermore, as with the designer coke cans, they’re attempting to emphasise how ’fashionable’ drinking diet coke is; however, the lack of real clothing and people detracts from this aim as again the characters aren’t relatable.
Rossi, S, R., & Rossi, J, S. (1985). Gender differences in the perception of women in magazine advertising. Sex Roles, 12 (9-10), 1033-1039.

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