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, March 1, 2018

Alexa Lost Her Voice

This recent Alexa advert uses Celebrity endorsement to promote the product.
This is otherwise known as the high status admirer altercast, whereby individuals of high status are thought to posses a large amount of influence. In this case, by influencing the general public to purchase the product- Alexa.

Evidence for this stems from research looking at how perceptions of people can be altered by uniform and clothing. For example, Bushman (1984) demonstrated that compliance to a request to give a man money who had no change for the parking metre increased as the perceived authority increased. For example, only 50% gave the ‘business man’ money but 82% gave money to the fireman. Furthermore, Lefkowitz et al (1995) showed that people were more likely to jaywalk if they saw a person who was dressed in a suit (high status) jaywalking, compared with when they saw someone dressed in denim (low status) doing the same.
As a result, range of celebrities from different professions and ages were incorporated into the advert in order to ensure all viewers knew at least one celebrity and therefore the product appealed to all.

The celebrities created a comedy aspect by taking on the Alexa voice. This generated a positive mood which is known to make people more likely to comply, this case meaning more likely to buy the product due to the feeling of happiness created by the advert.
Furthermore, the advert uses social modelling, you can see many everyday people (and a few celebrities), in many different situations using the device for different things. For example, you see a student using Alexa to google something, People at a party using it to play music, and finally a women using it to call someone while doing her makeup. This highlights the diversity of the product and is therefore is more likely to appeal to a wider range of viewers.

One study that provides evidence for the use of social modelling in order to encourage behaviour change is Racicot and Wogalter (1995). in this study participants were asked to complete a chemistry experiment. they either saw a sign telling them to wear protective equipment or saw a sign and a social model (someone else wearing protective equipment). it was shown that those in the condition that saw both the sign and the social model were more likely to wear protective gear. In this case, the use of social modelling is likely to promote compliance and therefore people are more likely to purchase the product having seen others using it, especially those they look up to ie celebrities.

Bushman, B. J. (1984). Perceived symbols of authority and their influence on compliance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology14(6), 501-508.

Lefkowitz, M., Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1995). Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 704-706.

Racicot, B. M., & Wogalter, M. S. (1995). Effects of a video warning sign and social modeling on behavioral compliance. Accident Analysis & Prevention27(1), 57-64.

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