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, January 24, 2014

The Sapeurs

Traditionally when we think of beer or alcohol adverts we are bombarded with images of wild parties and attractive women e.g (peroni 07 & Amstel 2013) but Guinness’ new advert based on the life story of the ‘society of elegant persons of the Congo’ is certainly refreshing. Rather than relying on cheap humour and an overkill of masculinity the message is different, powerful and self-affirming.

We all want to stand out from the crowd and be different (just not too different!) and we like to be positive in difficult times, to triumph through adversity. In this last regard it is affirmative. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a perfect example of a nation and its people experiencing difficult times: ravaged by conflict, poverty and virtually on the brink of a humanitarian crisis – it’s nothing short of a miracle that people like the Sapeurs can achieve the confidence, individuality and optimism that the advert depicts. This is an example of an incredibly successful psychological technique known as self-affirmativism – the idea behind it being consumers can be manipulated into being more open to persuasion through ‘the reinforcement of the self on an important personal aspect, such as a person’s values' (Sherman, Nelson and Steele, 2000; Steele and Liu 1983). Its clear that some of the values portrayed in this ad follow the lines of self-worth, freedom of expression and all around optimism. By creating a positive mode, the role of self affirmation effectively induces confidence in the product through the confidence the advert itself inspires, it truly does evokes the idea that 'we are all the masters of our own fates'.

Another popular technique used by Guinness in this advert is the effective persuasive and influence tactic known as social proof (Cialdini 93). Advertising capitalises on the notion that humanity looks to others to dictate behaviour and habits, after all 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer’ (Cialdini). Therefore by seeing others partaking in/doing something positive it makes others want to join in, to jump on the ‘bandwagon’. The message needing to be conveyed in this advert – that ‘you’re cool if you buy this’ - is embedded in a documentary of joy, style and charisma – something others would surely want to be a part of. If the Sapeurs can be this optimistic and happy despite everything, then so can others. 

Overall the mood is celebratory. Shot in documentary style. It’s a mini movie of affirmation, inclusion, and style.

The Effects of Aesthetics and Self Affirmation on Consumer Risk Taking Claudia Townsenda and Suzanne B. Shu

Pratkani : The Science of Social influence

Influence: The psychology of persuasion Cialdini 2007

The Role of Self-Affirmation in Consumer Persuasion - Pablo Briñol,

 By Clementine Parker

1 comment:

  1. Good, a little subjective in places and the refs aren't complete, but the points you make a coherent.


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