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, January 29, 2015

Celebrity Endorsements


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcbVomzq1Ig

Above is the new 'Beats by Dre Presents: SoloSelfie' Advertisements for Beats headphones. Right from the beginning there are familiar faces of celebrities modelling the product, for example, the likes of Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Usher, the Rizzle Kicks and Nicki Minaj are just a few featured during the ad. 

The advertising industry receives much criticism for the suggested manipulative effects it has on consumer's intentions to purchase specific products. It is widely believed that the purchase and use of goods can be used to create a sense of social identity, which is a potential reason why celebrities are hired to endorse products to the market. The consumer is likely to do something, or in this case buy something, off someone they perceive as a 'role model' or an 'ideal self,' they desire to be similar to this public figure and buy into the idea that they will be more alike if they too invest in the product advertised. The element of familiarity that they radiate is a very persuasive technique that immediately captures the audience's attention.

This is an example of The High Status-Admirer Altercast: All of the featured celebrities possess a prestigious position of which are admired due to their place in the status hierarchy. Orders are more often followed when delivered by those in power, with a high status. For example, we see this in our daily lives, we do what our manager's to tell us, our teachers, a police officer, anyone in power is likely to see his or her demands carried out compared to someone lower down in the status hierarchy, this due to several factors including respect and the desire to be liked/right (normative/informational influence). 

This notion is supported by the research conducted by Leff, Nydegger and Buck (1970) who assessed the impact of nurses' mode of dress (uniform compared with casual clothing) on the behaviour and perception of patients differing in the degree of their dependence on stereotypic information in the decision making process. The stereotypes the patients reported were analysed in both clothing conditions. It was concluded that a nurse in uniform was perceived more stereotypically than the same nurse in casual clothing behaving the same way. Participants were split into two groups: Level 1 and Level 2. The level was assessed based on participant's scores on a paragraph completion test designed to measure level of cognitive complexity. Level 1: Very simple information processors and Level 2: Simple information processors.


The above figure demonstrates the % of how alike the 'nurse stereotype' the nurse in both the uniform and casual clothing conditions. Whilst the difference isn't great between the conditions, the % is higher in both Level 2 conditions, when the participants had a higher information processing level. 
This research highlights that status alters people's opinions of a person and in turn the way they interact in their company. 


Leff, H. S., Nydegger, R. V., & Buck, M. (1970). Effect of nurses' mode of dress on behaviour of psychiatric patients differing in information-processing complexity. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 34, 72-79.

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