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.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Work hard to get it, then love it

This Fantastic Delites commercial shows the company planting an interactive machine on a public square. People find out that for performing a specific task outlined by the machine, they get a Fantastic Delites product as a reward. We can see that the tasks start easy - for example pushing a button 50 times; and get increasingly difficult, showing us how one person pushed the button 5000 times just to get a Fantastic Delite.

This video advertisement has captured my interest especially since it gives people challenging or fun tasks to do while covering up the fact that these activities work to subtly advertise the product which comes as a reward at the end.

In 2012, the company behind the Fantastic Delites has published the above ''How far will you go for Fantastic Delites?'' advert, later followed in 2014 by ''How far would you queue for Fantastic Delites?'' video advert, suggesting that the techniques
used in the first advert have been a success.

Both of these advertisements feature a mixture of persuasion techniques. First of all, perhaps the most obvious technique we can see at play here is Effort Justification. People have been asked to expend large amounts of effort to obtain an object, which leads them to justifying the expenditure by increased liking of the object.

This technique can prove especially useful for someone wanting to establish a name and liking on the market while using one marketing advertisement.

Aronson and Mills have conducted a study to show that the more a person suffers in order to obtain something, the greater will be the tendency to evaluate it positively. They have created a specific experiment in which they varied the severity of an initiation required for an admission into a group, for example in the severe initiation condition participants had to read some embarassing material out loud, and measured the participants' liking for each group afterwards.

Table 1 shows how the participants in the severe condition rated both the discussion and other participants higher than the mild condition.

 Moreover, this effect is combined with the Public Audience effects - where the presence of an audience can increase concerns for maintaining a positive public image, resulting in an increased compliance (when the request is one that is socially approved). This would make sense of how such large number of people were willing to participate in the machine's challenges, no matter how nonsensical.

The public audience effects have been shown by Rind and Benjamin in their study called Effects of Public Image Concerns and Self-Image on Compliance. Male shoppers were asked to purchase ruffle tickets to support the United Way and it was found that male shoppers with a female companion purchased almost twice as many tickers compared to lone male shoppers.


Aronson, E. & Mills, J. (1959). The effect of severity of initiation on liking for a group. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59, 177-181.

Rind, B. & Benjamin, D. (1994). Effects of public image concerns and self-image on compliance. Journal of Social Psychology, 134, 19-25.

Diana Drgonova

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