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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

HURRY - Sale Ends TODAY!

The image above shows a screenshot of an email I received which uses the scarcity principle as a persuasion tactic to get consumers to buy more products. By using phrases such as ‘LAST CHANCE!’ and ‘ends TODAY’, consumers are forced into panic mode and end up buying items that they may not otherwise have bought. Consumers are afraid that if they do not purchase the items TODAY, they will not be able to purchase the items at all (Cialdini, 2007). According to psychological reactance theory, whenever free choice is limited or threatened, the need to hold on to our freedoms makes us desire them more than before (Brehm, 1981). This explains how the scarcity principle works in real life. We are scared of losing the freedoms we have. A sale at Urban Outfitters ending TODAY means we must buy the clothes TODAY before it’s too late…

Note: I'm a sucker for advertisements like this and ended up buying a t-shirt that I really didn't need... 


Brehm, S. S. (1981). Psychological reactance and the attractiveness of unobtainable objects:
            Sex differences in children's responses to an elimination of freedom. Sex Roles, 937-949.

Cialdini, R. B. (2007). Influence: The psychology of persuasion. New York: Collins.

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