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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Love for the A&F products or just the sexy models?

The following is a conversation I had with my granny when I visited her last summer holiday….

Granny: Why people love to wear these A&F hot pants? How much do these actually cost?
Me: Around 50 pounds I guess.  This is a really popular brand for teenagers.
Granny: Costing that must for just a small piece of cloth, this is not a good deal at all.  And they have topless models standing outside the store while they are selling clothes. That’s just hilarious.

This conversation about fashion made me laugh so hard, but also inspired me to think about the reasons behind the success of Abercrombie and Fitch with these sexy models.  The brand created a worldwide phenomenon about their casual wear and other alongside products.  They positioned their products as ‘casual luxury’ and their success has spread to different continents in over 21 cities.  On their printed ads, it is not surprised to see huge semi-nude males or females for the increased tone of sexuality.  This is one of the successful advertising strategies that made people choose their brand.

The tactics used in the A&F adverts are physical attractiveness and, conditioning and association. (Pratkanis, 2007)  All models in the printed adverts are chosen through castings and they have to be hot, young and sexy, so as to be the icons of the company. People like perfect bodies and are easily attracted by them.  Girls love handsome, hot guys and boys love sexy, pretty ladies. This is natural and I think most people would not deny that, right?  By having these perfectly-toned models, it generally elicits a sense of likings in the consumers.  The Halo Effect is, therefore, resulted.  People usually favour things that are physically more attractive.  This is proved by a scientific experiment, which a difference of 12-14% in wages were found between attractive and unattractive co-workers. (Hamermesh & Biddle, 1994)

A&F also used the technique of conditioning. Pair up the perfect body of models with the products of their own company, in order to create a positive feeling.  How does that work?  Generally, merely the tank tops and shorts they sell would not elicit any feelings in the customers.  People attracted by the perfect body is a natural instinct of human beings and would elicit good feelings.  A&F paired up perfectly-toned models with their ‘casual luxuries’, aiming at transferring the positive feelings for the models to the products they offered.  This can make people feel good about the quality and style of the clothings and motivate them to buy more of their products.  Smith and Engel (1968) found that men were more likely to regard a car as good quality when there is a good-looking female is standing next to the car.   The same theory actually applies to the A&F too!

A&F kept nudity to the max, and minimise the exposure of their products, which created lots of noises and controversies from the public.  This is the image established for the brand.  However, is it the models that make you like their products or genuinely the style and quality that look amazing on you?  Better choose and buy product that you really like and suit you the most.  

Think carefully before you buy! (may save you lots of money too!)

And, don’t be tricked by the little tactics of A&F!  

Hamermesh, D. S., & Biddle, J. E. (1994) Beauty and the Labor Market. The American Economic Review, 84(5), pp. 1174-1194.

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007) Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. In The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. (pp.17-82). New York: Psychology Press.

Smith G.H. and Engel R. (1968), Influence of a Female Model on Perceived Characteristics of an Automobile, Proceedings from the 76th APA Annual Convention, pp. 681-682.

Chan Kei Fong Chermaine

1 comment:

  1. Good points, i bet your gran wont be wearing abercrombie and fitch any time soon!


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