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.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Keep it classy ladies



“Right ladies, let’s get ready to hit the town” cue: *all ladies run to get their dresses, lashes, hooker heels and ingredients for their cake face* - or not in this advertisement,  as the audience begin to witness the unravelling of a rather shocking twist to the typical night out preparations and I am not talking about running out of mascara. The purpose of this advertisement is to show the not so glamorous side of binge drinking, and instead questions the logic behind binge drinking “you wouldn’t start a night like this, so why end it this way” – which is actually, very true. However, just for the sake of some nice imagery, they portray a young lady starting her night in this very dreaded way, from the highly forbade tearing of tights (keep it classy ladies) to smothering herself in vomit – I believe the correct term is a hot mess.

The power behind this advertisement roots from the effective use of Goldenberg’s (1999) consequences template. This particular strategy is executed through portraying the terrifying consequences of binge drinking as a horrific set of actions followed by the preventative measure in the form of a message “know your limits” – in other words, don’t get wasted. This message is further emphasised through the use of a Similarity Altercast, the young lady in the advertisement resembles the target audience, she is not a Megan Fox or a Susan Boyle, but she could very much be one of your friends, and that is a very scary thought as it brings the consequences far closer to home. Berscheid (1966) found that similarity between the source (the young lady) and the target audience (the young generation) increases compliance of the persuasive message.

Another interesting strategy deployed by this advertisement is the use of shock. As an audience, it is not uncommon to assume that we are watching a lady get ready for a night on the tiles, but from the moment she rips her tights, we are shocked, but it is still redeemable at this point (maybe she was feeling kinky?), and then we get to the vomit smothering – your tummy turns and your eyes squint as you begin to ask yourself: “did she really just do that?” – you open your eyes, and realise she did. Research suggests that advertisements that employ a shock factor are far more persuasive than fear inducing advertisements (Dahl et al., 2003) and after watching this advert, that finding is not surprising.

Funnily enough, most women don’t want to end their night like this, let alone start it that way which begs the question – why do we allow ourselves to get into such states? The reality is, whilst this woman’s actions are shocking, we are only about ten jagerbombs away from being her so the next time you order a drink stick to something a little softer and keep it classy ladies.


Krishma Tangri


Berscheid, E. (1966). Opinion change and communicator-communicatee similarity and dissimilarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology4(6), 670.

Dahl, D.W., Frankenberger, K.D., & Manchanda, R. V. (2003). Does It Pay to Shock? Reactions to Shocking and Nonshocking Advertising Content among University Students. Journal of Advertising Research,43,268-280.

Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18, 333-351.


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