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

Buying me with dogs

I must confess that I am a dog fanatic. It’s true. It’s my one weakness and it’s being exploited by none other than Amazon (prime).
It seems odd to me that they feel the need to advertise themselves, because - I know I’m not the only one when I say this, but – whenever I’m told I need a book or anything really, I just say ‘Ok, I’ll just order it from Amazon’. Luckily as a student we get free Amazon prime for 6 months, which is really useful when you order as many things as I do when I’m bored.
Every time I watch those commercials I’m bombarded with lots of feelings/thoughts:
1-      Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
2-      The dog is so damn cute and amazing!
3-      Just look at it!
4-      How dare that baby not love him – get rid of it (the baby)
If you need a reminder, here are the videos:

Now I’m sure you felt all those things, but also, the need to check if Amazon does have that obscure thing you now desperately need tomorrow. This is because Amazon’s marketing team has done their job right. People are naturally drawn to things beautiful (doggies) and tend to attribute positive emotions to them (Nisbett & Wilson, 1977). They’ve used this peripheral route of advertising (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) to make you forget about the monthly subscription fee that is likely going to be higher than whatever else you buy that month.

Well played Amazon Prime. Now where do I get burger placemats?


Nisbett, R., & Wilson, T. (1977). The halo effect: Evidence for unconscious alteration of judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35(4), 250-256.

Petty, R. E., and Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion. In L. Berkowitz (ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 19, pp. 123–205). New York: Academic Press.

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