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.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Success Kid






Success kid is one of many well known meme , along with 'over-attached girlfriend', 'philosoraptor', 'good-guy greg' and 'tard the cat' these represent a set of memes that are based on the replication of an image of a person with super imposed writing. In Success kids case the memes are based on the idea of doing something and getting a surprisingly good outcomes. The internet sensation of success kid was quite notable within the context of memes which have their image reused and its recognisability to people who enjoy memes is profound.
The Bait-and-Switch technique is utilised here by the drawing the attention of meme likers with the promise of potential hilarity and entertainement come to be expected by those who brose image sharing websites that include these well known memes but after their attention is engaged it switched the attention of these unsuspecting meme thrill seeking individuals to the matter of HD channel services. all of you i am sure will agree this is a cheap and cruel trick, and potentially more infuriatingly the meme is misused, giving success kid a name 'tim' and saying his parents have just paid no money for extra HD services. It does not comform to the use of this meme which is always in the first person and usually looks like this :

A study by Joule, Gouilloux, and Weber in 1989 showcased a tactic that they called "the lure" which resembles very closely what is often called within sales terminology the bait-and-switch. In their study participants volunteered to partake in an enticing and exciting task (involving a study on film clips). The desirable task was then switched with an undesirable and boring task where they were asked to memorize a set of words from a list. people who had been engaged to this task through the bait-and-switch where three times more likely to proceed with the boring experiment than a control group. 
within this scenario I believe the bait to be the expectation of fun and entertainment when one perceives stimuli associated to memes. the switch is made when one realises that it is just in fact an advertisement for virgin media. And it is not funny. 

In this manner one could also say that this advert utilises message fit: Link the content of a message to the pre-existing Beliefs, Experiences and knowledge of the recipient. Virgin are using a well known meme . The term meme in itself was coined by Richard Dawkins as the term for a social gene or better put "an idea, behaviour or style that runs from person to person within a culture" (Dawkins, 1989). on the internet memes are concepts that run from person to person via the web and the reason that these images share in the term meme is due to the way in which each meme represents a common human experience. Internet memes are usually entertaining and by and large usually witty. I think they represent something quite beautiful in that they allow people from around the world to laugh at and rejoice in shared experience. They also allow creative expression and communication in small contributions to be more far reaching. 

Using memes for corporate advertising is not a technique exclusively used by virgin, many companies are starting to comprehend the idea that memes can be utilised to their advantage as they are already well established within the cultural conscious. 


Dawkins, R., (1989). The Selfish Gene. Oxford University Press: Oxford.  

Joule, R. V., Gouilloux, F., & Weber, F. (1989). The lure: A new compliance procedure. Journal of social Psychology, 128, 741-749.

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