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, January 29, 2015

Beckham's Physique

David Beckham is a globally known ex-footballer, England captain.  He’s played for the elite clubs in the best leagues. Alongside Emporio Armani shown above, Beckham has endorsed a wide variety of brands including: Adidas, Pepsi and Samsung. Most recently Beckham has collaborated with high street retailer H&M in producing a line of fashionable yet affordable clothing. 

Using an individual who has prestige as well as good looks and a striking physique is influential in the sale of products. They are admired in society for their success and there is desire to seek identification. The persuasive techniques used by Emporio Armani are known as High Status Admirer-Altercast and Physically Attractive Admirer-Altercast.  

Reingen & Kernan (1993) illustrated the Physically Attractive Admirer-Altercast technique in a variety of experiments. One of their experiments was conducted in order to answer the question: ‘Are physically attractive salespersons perceived more favourably than unattractive ones on traits presumably associated with selling effectiveness?’

Firstly, participants were presented with a photograph which represented attractiveness on a piece of paper. Researchers confirmed that the individual seen in the photograph was selling a product. Then an impression formation questionnaire was given to participants. This consisted of 18, 7 point scales on the characteristics of a successful salesperson e.g. friendly – unfriendly or honest – dishonest. To finish the attractiveness manipulation was assessed when participants answered questions on attractiveness – unattractiveness. 

Table 1 below highlights the scores calculated by varimax – rotated factor loadings, two factors emerged from the data which researchers labelled 1) Social Skill and 2) Personal Industry. Traits such as sincerity, considerateness, friendliness and honesty were scored higher in regards to social skill. In comparison to persuasiveness or initiative traits which were related to personality industry. But the most important outcome is the significance that, attractive photographs scored more favourably for both factors, than the unattractive counterparts.

To conclude the study suggests how someone attractive is perceived to have greater effectiveness in the sale of a product. Therefore by having Beckham or an attractive looking individual endorse a product, customers may be persuaded. 

Reingen, P. H., & Kernan, J. B. (1993). Social perception and interpersonal influence: Some consequences of the physical attractiveness stereotype in a personal selling setting. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2, 25-38. 

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