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.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Now we can all look like a Victoria’s Secret Model.
It’s getting to that time of year again, after Easter, when everyone starts their summer ‘diet plan’. Like a New Year’s resolution, there’s a surge of exercise DVDs to help us get that summer body we’ve always dreamed of and best of all, we can achieve it in just a few weeks by following said DVD exercise plan. But how do these DVDs sell so well, when we could just take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to the shops rather than drive and eat our 5 a day?
Many celebrities have started producing exercise DVDs such as The Pussycat Dolls, Martine McCutcheon, and even now the Victoria’s Secret DVD. Many persuasive techniques can be seen in these DVDs to encourage us to buy them, and let’s be honest, probably never use them.
Firstly, the high status- admirer altercast, and the physically attractive-admirer altercast are both used. These work with particular reference to exercise DVDs as people who buy them are conscious of their appearance. The high status-admirer altercast works because people tend to admire celebrities and have a desire to be like them. Weick, Gilfillan and Keith (1793) found that orchestras made fewer mistakes when the music was attributed to a high status composer.
Flattery is also a major part of exercise DVDs. Throughout the ‘workout’ the instructor tells you how well you’re doing, and pushes you to do just ‘one more set of crunches’. Hendrick et al (1972) found that flattery increased compliance with a request to complete a 7 page questionnaire, compared to control condition. Throughout the DVD you’re constantly encouraged by the idea that at the end of this you’ll end up looking like a Victoria’s Secret model, unfortunately, most of us probably won’t stick it out long enough to see it if works.

posted by Charlotte Hoyland 

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