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 5, 2016

Looks Really Do Sell !!

Trying to fund-raise for a cause so dear to you but can't seem to catch a break? Working in a door to door sales company, but can't seem to any sign up? Can't make any money off your Youtube vlog channel because no one is subscribing? Can't seem to get any likes or shares on the products you're advertising on social media?

Here are 2 the reasons why:

1. You're not attractive enough (hate to break it to you).
2. You didn't get someone attractive to endorse your product for you.

The world loves attractive men and women, we love those faces carefully crafted by the gods- those strong jawlines, soft chins, high cheek bones, full lips, cute noses, bright beautiful eyes- it's evolutionary, we just can't help ourselves from automatically loving people who fit into these categories. They're the ones who are most likely to be popular, most likely to be hired (see Dipboye et al., 1977.), most likely to be successful in the Media & Entertainment Industry (see Hollywood).

The Holy Trinity Of Attractiveness. I find most Balmain pieces underwhelming  - blame the Kardashians -  but hell, Rihanna, Naomi & Iman make it look incredible!

But why does beauty help you sell yourself, and your product? 

It's quite a simple yet effective persuasion tactic called Physically Attractive - Admirer Altercast. As previously mentioned, we cannot help but immediately attend to people who are attractive. A physically attractive person in the words of Psychologist Anthony Pratkanis "occupies a prestige position in status hierarchy", thus we admire them, we want to be like them, we associate positive things with them. We want to identify with them! This makes us so much more gullible to their persuasive influence even at our own detriment - think Basic Instinct.

It's not that Colgate actually makes your teeth whiter- none of these brands actually work, just see your dentist- but it's because she's attractive. She makes Colgate look good with her pretty face and her pretty white smile, which she probably got from seeing a dentist!!!!


How are you sure looks really do sell?

Well, Ahearne et al (1999) investigated the effect of perceived pharmaceutical salesperson's attractiveness on their performance.  A sample of 339 physicians was surveyed to rate some pharmaceutical company sales representatives’ attractiveness as well as their perceptions of their different abilities.

They studied looked at the effects of the perceived salesperson's attractiveness on their perceived performance (ability to sell), their ability to communicate, how likeable they are, their expertise an trustworthiness.

In the table above their results showed that perceived salesperson attractiveness had a significant positive effect on their perceived ability to communicate, their perceived likeability, expertise and trustworthiness. The most significant effect was seen in performance (on the table as market share), with salesmen's market share increasing significantly as their score for attractiveness increased (see table below).

So there you have it! The physicians were more likely to attribute positive traits to salespeople on the basis of their attractiveness. So if you really want to be a successful salesman, or want to raise more funds for your cause, want more people to buy your products, be more attractive, or get someone who is more attractive to do the work for you!

P.S: Whilst this may seem unfair to the below average-looking lay person, it is the undeniable reality, if you can't afford the beauty products and plastic surgeries like the elites, you can at least catfish on social media.

Ahearne, M., Gruen, T., & Jarvis, C. (1999). If looks could sell: Moderation and mediation of the attractiveness effect on salesperson performance. International Journal Of Research In Marketing, 16(4), 269-284.

Pratkanis, A. (2007). The science of social influence. New York: Psychology Press.

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