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

Need a sales boost? Let's give Davina aCall!





What persuades us to to buy “Colgate” instead of “Arm & Hammer”? What influences us to say “Fairy” when asked to think of a brand of washing up liquid as opposed to “Daisy”?
It may be hard to put your finger on exactly why some brands are more successful than others, however when you look closely at the techniques used by the advertising industry, it soon becomes blindingly obvious.

The Garnier Ultralift advert above was successfully analysed by Rachel Drayton where she revealed the use of 'multiple sources' and the 'similarity altercast' techniques used by the advertising company. However I believe there a few more tactics used to persuade women of the world to buy Garnier Ultralift.

The astonishingly obvious strategy used to persuade the consumer to try Garnier Ultralift is the big fat celebrity endorsement or the high status-admirer altercast. According to Anthony Pratkanis (2007), we look up to and admire people of higher status and seek to be like them. Thus they have a very influential effect on us lowly 'normal' folk who think 50 likes on our Facebook profile picture is a sign that we should start practicing our autographs.
Zafar & Rafique (2012), used questionnaires to seek the general opinion on celebrity endorsements and whether they actually work. They found that celebrities not only have a positive impact on the attitude of the consumer, but also their buying intentions. Celebrities makes sales! 
Davina McCall, used in the above advert, is a popular TV presenter known for shows like 'Big Brother' and 'Million Pound Drop'. Women like Davina as a person, therefore Garnier Ultralift's association with her are likely to make it more successful than if no celebrity was associated with it. Zafar & Rafique (2007) also found that the attractiveness and credibility of the celebrity has a direct impact on their influence. Therefore using an attractive and well-liked celebrity for a skincare brand is a stroke of genius.

A fourth technique used by Garnier Ultralift is social consensus. The advert states that over 25,000 women have tried the product, and of them, 80% saw results. This technique thrives on our need to follow the crowd or jump on that good old bandwagon! Pratkanis (2007) believes that social consensus works as a form of persuasion due to its 'informative' and 'normative' influences. As human beings, we are always looking for the right way to do things. We have a fear of standing out and getting things wrong which makes social consensus a welcome scape goat. Normative influence is the pressure to conform to others in order to avoid ostracism. I don't know about you but anyone not interested in trying Garnier Ultralift would certainly not be a friend of mine!
Social consensus has shown to have a positive effect on advertising (Frelinga & Dafin, 2010), most likely due to its strong impact on our fear of exclusion and humiliation.

In summary, if you want to sell us a product, I suggest an annoying but attractive celebrity and make sure we think that EVERYONE else is doing it.



Frelinga, T. H., Dacin, P. A. (2010). When consensus counts: Exploring the impact of consensus claims in advertising. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 20, 163-175.

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). The Science of Social Influence. NY& East Sussex: Psychology Press.

Zafar, Q., & Rafique, M. (2007) Impact of celebrity advertisement on customers' brand perception and purchase intention. Asian Journal of Business Management Sciences, 1, 53-67.



By Katie Lawton

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