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, February 6, 2014

Boots or Bugatti?

Before doing this module, I used to just passively watch adverts without really thinking about them. Now, on the other hand, I can’t watch a single advert without picking out all of the persuasive techniques that it has used; and this one has used quite a few:
The first technique is dependant upon your view of Ronaldo. In my opinion, Nike have used what is known as a High Status - Admirer Altercast; they have used a famous footballer to advertise their product because we tend to admire high status people and want to emulate them, and in this situation the one way we can do that is to buy Nike trainers (Pratkanis, 2007). Lefkowitz, Blake, and Mouton (1955) found that people generally tend to follow the behaviour of those of a higher status, as their study showed that people were more likely to jaywalk after witnessing a smartly dressed person doing it as opposed to one dressed in denim.
However if men with obscenely gelled hair who have a particular talent for diving is your thing, you would probably say that this advert is using a Physically Attractive - Admirer Altercast. This is the same principle as above, except our drive to buy this product is influenced by our tendency to admire the physically attractive and our desire to identify with them (Pratkanis, 2007). A similar effect to Lefkowitz’s study has been found when using an attractive example; more attractive people tend to be more effective in getting people to participate in surveys than their less attractive counterparts (Guéguen, Legoherel, & Jacob, 2003).
Now onto the second technique used in this advert; association. This basic yet effective technique involves a simple association between two ideas or objects, with the aim of transferring the positive aspects of one to the other (Pratkanis, 2007). In this example, Nike have associated their product with the Bugatti Veyron thus inheriting it’s positive aspects; the most relevant here being speed. 
Nike have really maximised this association by using the extreme consequences template of advertising (Goldenberg, Mazursky, & Solomon, 1999), and they are in no way subtle about it. The ad involves using the association they have already created between the trainers and the speed of the sports car, and taking it to the extreme; if you buy the trainers we are advertising, you will be so quick that you will be able to outrun a Bugatti Veyron.
Lott and Lott (1960) conducted a study into the use of association, and found that receiving a reward in the presence of a stranger made the participants rate that person as more likeable; the positive effects of receiving the reward had been associated with the stranger.
So in summary, Nike have used two main persuasive techniques in order to get you to buy their product; they have hired a high status (or physically attractive, depending on your standards) football player to advertise it, and they have associated it with a rather nice car!

Sarah Briscoe - Blog 2

Ad Template:
Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., & Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18, 333 - 351.
Physically Attractive - Admirer Altercast:
Guéguen, N., Legoherel, P., & Jacob, C. (2003). Solicitation of participation in an investigation by e-mail: Effects of the social presence of the physical attraction of the petitioner on the response rate. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 35, 84 - 96
High Status - Admirer Altercast:
Lefkowitz, M., Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1955). Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 704 - 706.
Lott, B., & Lott. A. (1960). The formation of positive attitudes towards group members. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 87, 733 - 749.
Main Techniques:

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

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