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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pepsi will rock your life !

Pepsi is a brand well-known for their soft drinks and even more notoriously known for their famous brand ambassadors. Usually you don’t  associate anything unique or special to brands that promote soft drinks ,however the company Pepsi used different techniques to draw attention towards their products.
In this specific advert you saw four celebrities who were Enrique Iglesias (the villain), BeyoncĂ© , Pink and Britney Spears (heroines).  The storyline starts in the Roman Empire in which these three female celebrities were kept as gladiators who have to fight against each other in order to entertain the crowd and more specifically to entertain the Pepsi drinker emperor. However there is a twist in this storyline. Instead of fighting they sing “we will rock you” and win the attention of the crowd whilst the desired object (Pepsi cans) moves closer to them.  

This advert made use of the high-status admirer altercast and the attractive-admirer altercast (Pratkanis ,2007). The theory of high-status admirer argues that we desire those who are the top of the social hierarchy as they possess desirable characteristics such as fame, wealth and others.  These four stars were displayed as highly confident ,strong and dominant . Admiring those who already gained a high status at the social hierarchy might help us to identify what qualities or products they possess that could help us to get at the top of the hierarchy as well (Pratkanis, 2007). All 3 female protagonist gained the attention of the audience which portrays them as popular people.  In addition, the product was presented as a desired object for the high-status admirer as the emperor consumed the Pepsi soft drink at several occasions .  
Physical attractiveness is another technique used here which can determine whether your message will be  accepted or rejected. Chaiken (1979) found that persuasive message worked the best when they were delivered by an attractive communicator rather than an unattractive communicator. Dion , Berscheid and Walster (1972) found that student rated physically attractive people as more successful ,desired and powerful. We tend to associate positive characteristics with physical attractiveness.  Applying this theory to this advert , it can be argued that all four heroines are highly attractive . 

Pepsi does not only use celebrities to promote their products but they also use repetition in order to familiarize the consumer with the product.  . One technique used here is known as the mere exposure,which in turn leads to the sense of familiarity (Zajonc, 1968)  . Mere exposure occurs when a subject is repeatedly exposed to the same person, item or situation. The high level of exposure leads to a sense of familiarity. Studies have found that we like things that are familiar to us.  Saegert, Swap and Zajonc (1973) exposed participants to specific people at a high level. They found that participants  liked those people more who they saw at several occasions.  In reference to this advert , it can be argued that the high level of appearance of the product should create a sense of familiarity .

Whether this persuades us to buy their products more often than other products is open to the consumer . It would be interesting to see how the product sells if they would have used ordinary people with the same storyline . Would they grab the attention of all people or does the promotion of this product only work if the celebrity delivers the message?

Chaiken, S. (1979). Communicator physical attractiveness and persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(8), 1387.

Dion, K., Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. (1972). What is beautiful is good. Journal of personality and social psychology, 24(3), 285.

Pratkanis, A. (2007). The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. Psychology Press, New York, NY.

Saegert, S., Swap, W., & Zajonc, R. B. (1973). Exposure, context, and interpersonal attraction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 25(2), 234.

Zajonc, R. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, 1-27.

1 comment:

  1. The last sentence emphasises your analysis really well. In future be careful with your writing, grammar and formatting as there are sloppy mistakes here.


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