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, February 27, 2015

Chicken dance

This video consists of two commercials. The first advertisement is of the new (at the time) Mercedes Magic Body Control suspension system.

The second advert was made by Jaguar in response, as part of the 'commercial battle' between the two brands. The man holding the chickens is revealed, and portrayed as slightly dreamy and distracted, not focusing very much on the chicken or controlling its movements as much. He then suggests the whole 'dance' is 'just like a Mercedes', clearly referring to the brand's own advertisement. He gets distracted again for a moment, and a big jaguar immediately eats the chicken. The slogan then goes on to say 'Magic Body Control? We prefer cat-like reflexes'.

This advertisement by Jaguar seems to fit the Extreme Situation Template, as outlined by Goldenberg, Mazursky and Solomon (1999). According to this template, one of the 6 identified as often present in successful advertisements, unrealistic situations are presented to emphasise crucial attributes of the advertised product/service. There are three versions of this template: the absurd alternative version, the extreme attribute version and the extreme worth version (where the attributes are exaggerated to the extreme). The absurd alternative version in particular seems especially fitting. This category suggests that alternative options may be shown, but in the context so absurd, that the potential customer will not have any doubts about the superiority of the advertised product.

In the case with the Jaguar advertisement, the positive attributes of the Mercedes product are demonstrated (even though in a slightly mocking light). However, when the jaguar eating the chicken is shown, it becomes immediately apparent that the 'cat-like reflexes' are superior to 'magic body control', as the latter was in essence helpless when faced by the former. While not directly discounting the Mercedes' product, Jaguar insinuates that it would be ridiculous to choose it, making the consumer realise the very absurdity of such choice.

Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., & Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing science18(3), 333-351.

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