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, March 16, 2014

May the best man win!


This entertaining advert by Heineken asks us whether couples see eye-to-eye when furniture shopping - but, what if football got in the way of the decision process? They set up a situation in which the male partner must convince female partner to purchase $1,899 ‘Match Day Seats’ furniture - and if they succeed, they will win two tickets to the UEFA Champions League Final in London. Tempting for the men! So may the best negotiator win! 
The male partners attempt to create ‘value’ by trying to reach mutually beneficial arguments - that is, by creating a win-win situation. For example one guy says ‘It’s an investment, like those designer handbags of yours’ and another stated ‘It will give our home an industrial feel - and industrial is the in-thing right now’. These male negotiators are trying to create a shared vision and to cultivate shared interest by using current trends (what some women fall for) and comparing it to something they see value in, i.e. their handbags (Sebenius, 1992). Furthermore, positive characteristics of the seats are expressed; for example, one negotiator stated ‘It’s plastic and it’s durable’. Therefore, they will not have to spend money and time going furniture shopping again in the near future to replace chairs! 
Pressure was applied through use of Cialdini’s (2007) ’Scarcity’ principle: The idea of potentially losing the tickets to another couple increases the husband’s motivation to convince his partner. Previous studies have highlighted the importance of competition in the pursuit of limited resources (Worchel et al., 1975). They found if the number of cookies were reduced because there was a demand from another person, then cookie ratings went up. Therefore, the pressure that was added increased the feelings of competition - which has powerful motivating properties. This is demonstrated as one of the males says ‘WE HAVE TO BUY THESE NOW!’
Furthermore, the introduction of pressure, where other couples appear to be interested in the item should help the males convince their female partner according to the principle of Social Proof (Cialdini, 2007); this principle operates most powerfully when we observe the behaviour of people similar to us - in this case, the other couples going furniture shopping. 
All that had to be said was ‘Trust me on this?’ for the female partner to give in. I suppose the greatest power of negotiation with your partner is trust!
Simran Vaswani
References
Cialdini, R. B. (2007). Influence. HarperBusiness: NY
Sebenius, J. K. (1992). Negotiation analysis: A characterization and review. Management Science, 38, 18-38.

Worchel, S., Lee, J., & Adewole, A. (1975). Effects of supply and demand on ratings of object value. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 906-914.

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