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

How far would you go for LOVE?

This advertisement is for the luxury Cartier jewelry "Love" collection. Through a series of ads since 2007, Cartier has invited international artists to answer the question "How far would you go for love?" by expressing themselves freely through their art, in images or videos. The Love bracelets, as advertised above, range from the standard one for £3,500, to the all diamond embellished £39,000 one. Their description for the collection is " This collection seals a love that defies boundaries and is a universal symbol of LOVE and commitment. Since its creation in 1970’s, a host of iconic couples have chosen to seal their LOVE with Cartier."... "An undeniably elegant unisex piece, the bracelet clings to the wrist, in a pledge of undying LOVE.  Studded with diamonds, yellow, white or rose gold: how far would you go for LOVE?" 

They are a number of persuasive techniques being used such as the repetition of “LOVE” and high status/admirer alter cast, by them stating that a lot of celebrities have “sealed their love with these bracelets.”

The main technique though is the use of guilt in intimates alter-cast. Close relationships such as friends and lovers create obligations to place them before ourselves and if we don’t meet these obligations we generate guilt, which motivates us more to comply and creates a desire to make restitution and repair our own self - images of what we perceive we should be as a friend, partner, spouse etc.

An experiment was done by Carlsmith and Gross (1969) in which participants were working with a confederate in which they were to click the buzzer when the confederate got the answers to questions wrong. They made those in the experimental condition believe they gave painful shocks when they clicked the buzzer, and controls were told that it was just a noise. After the confederate asked the participants to help make calls for the “Save the Redwoods” group. The experimenter was either in the room or had left. They found that after, the participants were more likely than controls to comply to make the phone calls, and made much more calls as well.

As seen in the table above, the number of calls increased drastically between the shock and non-shock conditions,  regardless of the status of the person making the request or the presence of a witness. It is thought this is because the subject feels guilty, or that their self-image is tarnished and they think helping may be a good way to justify to themselves that they are not a bad person.

Cartier’s slogan “How far would you go for love?” leads people to think of the question. They may feel that the answer would be that they should go to any length for their loved one. This may lead to guilt if they feel they haven’t been doing so, or if they questioned it, and so they may try to resolve this guilt by spending a great deal of money to show their loved one just how much they really care. Similar to the shock condition, the guilt is not due to anyone knowing, but more a questioning of one's values and beliefs. The ad may make people question their commitment and whether their significant other really knows how they feel internally about though, as so they have to relive this guilt and restore their image of themselves by resolving this internal conflict. 

Carlsmith, J, M. & Gross, A. E. (1969). Some effects of guilt on compliance. Journal of Personality and Social psychology, 11, 232 - 239.

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