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.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

PLUS similarity!

These is three pictures are from the Mango catalogue 2014. Gorgeous Australian model Robyn Lawley is wearing a mix of denim looks, printed shirts and comfy dresses in order to show us the beauty of new collection presented by well known brand Mango.

The usual trick, beautiful lady presenting something new for people to buy, is of course used here. Our inability to ignore attractiveness (Olson & Marshuetz, 2005) is widely and successfully used by many companies. Sui & Liu (2009) argued that facial beauty is automatically grabs our attention. In their experiment participants asked to judge the orientation of a cued target presented to the left or right visual field while ignoring an irrelevant face image flashed in the opposite field. Appearance of attractive faces lengthened the performance which made researchers suggest that reaction to attractiveness, or particularly facial beauty, competes with the ongoing cognitive task (e.g. spatial attention).

The reason why I chose this advertising is actually this pretty 24 years old model. Robyn Lawley is well known as the first plus-size model to be shot for Australian Vogue and GQ, and the first Australian plus size model to be on the cover of the fashion magazine ‘Madison’.  She is also famous for being the first plus-size model to appear in a campaign for Ralph Lauren. The model worked with different famous photographers and companies. So what is so special about this girl?

I believe that this ‘plus-size’ is what important to Mango and all other companies and magazines, even thought size 12 is barely a ‘plus’ size. Unusual forms for a model, is what makes this girl desirable. I believe that image of a beautiful woman is not the only technique used by Mango’s marketing team to attract us to the advertising above. I think that the main principle here is similarity. This girl looks more similar to a regular woman than any of Victoria Secret models. Various studies showed that we like more and willing to comply more with those who are similar to us. For example, we often are attracted to people who share similar values, interests, and personality characteristics (cited in Burger et al, 2001). Customers are likely to attribute amiability and benevolence to salespeople who are similar to themselves (Swan, Bowers, & Richardson, 1999). One study found that significantly greater number of passersby were willing to lend money to a stranger for a phone call when that stranger resembled them in appearance (Emswiller,Deaux, & Willits, 1971).

I believe it is more pleasant for women and more productive for salesmen to have catalogue with models who have similar size to customers. As average size for a British woman is 12-14 it is important for them to see that beautiful clothes could look good on someone bigger than size 6. It is an encouragement and a comfort.. and the biggest trick.


Burger, J. M., Soroka, S., Gonzago, K., Murphy, E., & Somervell, E. (2001). The effect of fleeting attraction on compliance to requests. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(12), 1578-1586.

Emswiller, T., Deaux, K., & Willits, J. E. (1971). Similarity, Sex, and Requests for Small Favors1. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 1(3), 284-291.

Olson, I. R., & Marshuetz, C. (2005). Facial attractiveness is appraised in a glance. Emotion, 5(4), 498.

Sui, J., & Liu, C. H. (2009). Can beauty be ignored? Effects of facial attractiveness on covert attention. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 16(2), 276-281.

Swan, J. E., Bowers, M. R., & Richardson, L. D. (1999). Customer trust in the salesperson: an integrative review and meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Journal of Business Research, 44(2), 93-107.

Khmelnitskaya Elizaveta

1 comment:

  1. I like the analysis but the writing is unclear in places.


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