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

This is the Pepsi ad that can’t fail

Pepsi has created yet another hit Super Bowl advertisement, using similar techniques to those of the past. In all honesty, why wouldn’t they? These persuasion techniques (listed below) have never failed them. Pepsi has grown as a brand and has become the biggest competitor against the well-loved Coca Cola.

Social Proof

A technique employed in this advertise is social proof. This is the idea that we determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct (Lun et al., 2007). With this being especially true for behaviour, we can assume that the audience will view choosing to drink Pepsi as the correct action because all the people in the video are doing so.

Attractiveness and Celebrity Status

The people used within the advertise are famous or very attractive. The use of attractive people is smart because research has found an automatic ‘halo effect’ response (Oslon & Marschuetz, 2005). This means people view them in a positive light (for example kind, intelligent and talented) and perhaps could explain why they would mimic their behaviour. Attractive people and their assumed achievements represent what people aspire to be like and so, the advertises are effective. Celebrity endorsement also works well for Pepsi. A study by Stallen et al (2010) demonstrated the positive effect of using celebrity faces paired with your product.

Lun. J., Sinclair, S., Whitchurch, E. R., & Glenn, C. (2007). (Why) do I think what you think? Epistemic social turning and implicit prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 957-972.

Olson, I. and Marshuetz, C. (2005). Facial Attractiveness Is Appraised in a Glance. Emotion, 5(4), pp.498-502.

Pepsi Generations "This is the Pepsi" | Pepsi | Extended. (2018). YouTube. Retrieved 19 March 2018, from

Stallen, M., Smidts, A., Rijpkema, M., Smit, G., Klucharev, V. and Fernández, G. (2010). Celebrities and shoes on the female brain: The neural correlates of product evaluation in the context of fame. Journal of Economic Psychology, 31(5), pp.802-811.

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