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.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

If only i could look like Jessica Simpson...Sigh



Proactive solution often use celebrities for their ad campaigns (recently dropping a certain Mr Beiber after his acne riddled mugshot) and they are not the only ones. Many companies take to using celebrities to promote their products, in recent years this technique has even been adopted by politicians and charities. There are various reasons for using celebrities (including those discussed in the previous blog citing this advert): primarily they are well known and people like and trust what they know (Zojanc,1968). We use the fact that the celebrity is using this product as social proof that the product is good, we see Jessica Simpson as a short cut/heuristic so we don't have to go to the effort of evaluating the product ourselves. If its good enough for her its good enough for us. 

Secondly, celebrities are attractive. Fact. There is a well documented effect, coined by Langlois (00), called the 'Halo effect' it refers to the habit often adopted by us mere mortals where we use physical attractiveness as a heuristic to assume other positive traits e.g. you assume they are also kind and smart and funny and simply just wonderful. For example, Dion (74) found that less attractive children were more likely to be less well liked and considered more antisocial than attractive children. Their positive feature, attractiveness, allowed other features to be assumed. This can even work with products which have no association with the attractive individual, for example Bower and Landreth (01) found that highly attractive models were believed to be selling better perfume than their less attractive colleague  The perfume picked up the woman's attractiveness as though it was contagious. It is this effect companies, in this case proactive, want to capitalize on.

This advert mentions very little facts about the product, what it does, how to use it, why its better than others, its simply sticking an attractive and familiar face on their and letting us convince ourselves that this is the product for us, if we want to look like a celebrity that is (and lets face it, we do).



Bower, A. B., & Landreth, S. (2001). Is beauty best? Highly versus normally attractive models in advertising. Journal of Advertising30(1), 1-12.

Dion, K. K., & Berscheid, E. (1974). Physical attractiveness and peer perception among children. Sociometry, 1-12.

Langlois, J. H., Kalakanis, L., Rubenstein, A. J., Larson, A., Hallam, M., & Smoot, M. (2000). Maxims or myths of beauty? A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological bulletin126(3), 390.

Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of personality and social psychology9(22), 1.

1 comment:

  1. This piece could be more detailed, id also say that celebrities could be used due to their authority, rather than as a form of social proof. Nevertheless the tone is good.

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