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, March 21, 2018

Beware of the Blanket Tour

When I was on holiday in Majorca a few years ago, our hotel rep recommended us a free day trip to Palma, all completely free! Sounds great we thought.

All that’s required is to go on a blanket tour

… What?

Little did we know, the ‘day trip’ consisted of listening to two women try and sell us a mattress for 5 hours. When we finally arrived in Palma, we could only spend less than an hour running around to see all the sights before having to leave again.

This situation is not uncommon. Blanket tours are free excursions with a price - they use as many persuasion techniques as possible to convince you to buy silly things like mattresses. One persuasion technique I saw used was the scarcity principle, where we assign more value to products that are rare (Cialdini, 2007). They brought up various reviews (which they probably created themselves) showing 5* ratings and how incredible this mattress was. They told us it was on special offer, but only if we bought it then and there, and there were only a limited amount left.  This is called the ‘deadline’ tactic (Cialdini, 2007). This immediately instilled panic in my father, (who’s a sucker for things like this) and was very close to falling for this ridiculous offer, before my mum said no and decided he’d probably had too much sun. This shows talking to a higher authority is key in negotiations and when making rash decisions.


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

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