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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hello Ladies: Do you like it spicy?



To some, this blog may seem inconceivable to write after watching a gorgeous man over and over on a loop. Try as I might to see what techniques the advertisers used, I, like many other women got sucked in and didn’t even listen to the words coming out of his mouth. Eventually, after about fifteen, sixteen, or thirty two views I managed to see just how incredibly clever this advert is. It appeals to both sexes, for completely different reasons. I as a female, wish that all guys looked and smelt like this god (even though I don’t actually get the remotest whiff) and my male friend said, “yeah I’d buy that to smell buff and get the ladies”- if you’re saying ‘buff’ it probably won’t happen regardless of what you smell like.

So what do they do to get us so engaged and what on earth did they do to get me to see past those horrendous white trousers?  

Let’s first of all look at contrast. We are sat there either as a woman; with a fairly plain, unexciting specimen that we call our ‘boyfriend’ or we are a man sat eating a ridiculous amount of chicken, or a two-for-Tuesday’s deal all to ourselves (every season is bulking season). If we are looking at this side of the TV, compared with what is inside the TV, there is no question that both the woman and the man would rather be looking ‘god-like’ on a boat. They get us thinking that smelling good will get us far in life, and bring riches along with it. Tormala & Petty, 2007 found that the advantage to using this trick is that it is undetectable. We naturally feel stronger feelings towards something that is subjectively good, after we are exposed to what can be subjectively mundane.

The use of social proof is so prominent within this advertisement. The idea of ‘the man your man could smell like’ automatically creates a case for the ‘right way to be’. Men will look at this advert, just like my male friend and think, “Well I want that if it makes me appealing”, or the girls will think “I want my man like him”. Seems fairly na├»ve, but it is a human trait to strive to be the best we can be (Maslow, 1943). Salesmen know that to spice up their pitches, they must show an individual who has purchased the product, in this case an attractive male (Cialdini, 2007). Parks, Sanna & Berel (2001) said that we will decide what behaviour to carry out especially when looking at someone similar to ourselves. Whilst most of us will not be similar to ‘King Gorge’ on the screen, could we argue that a huge part of our buying behaviour is related to what we want to be, and what we deem to be attractive? He is just so cool.

But for me what it comes down to is humour, an incredible technique used day to day to get us to do things. The little bit right at the end "I'm on a horse" is funny due to sheer randomness and makes it highly memorable. When searching for this advert on youtube, 'old spice I'm on a horse' comes up in the suggestions. Make us laugh, we instantly feel more positive (Lyubomirsky, King & Diener, 2005). I’m guilty of being in a shop sometimes and debating over a product, “ah well, the advert made me laugh” boom: in the trolley. This advert is a piece of influential genius, it’s memorable, engaging and humorous, much like this blog I would like to think.  


Cialdini, R. B. (2007). Influence: The psychology of Persuasion. New York: HarperCollins

Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131.

.Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370–96.

Parks, C. D., Sanna, L. J., & Berel, S. R. (2001). Actions of similar others as inducements to cooperate in social dilemmas. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin3, 345-354.

Tormala, Z.L., & Petty, R.E. (2007). Contextual contrast and perceived knowledge: Exploring the implications for persuasion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 17-30.


Amber Kalejs


1 comment:

  1. Good, your writing is flirting with being too informal with too many jokes, but I happen to like it. Next time make stronger links with the science.

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