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.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Make Poverty History

This advert for a charitable foundation, aired in 2005, uses many persuasive tactics to get the message across to the recipients.
Firstly, many of the famous figures appearing in the advert are physically attractive, in fact, many have built their careers on this basis! Their aesthetic value secures them a position high up in the status hierachy as others tend to admire them and aspire to be part of their social world.This is an example of the physically attractive-admirer altercast. Chaiken (1979) found that attractive communicators tended to be more effective as an attitude change agent. Chaiken had physically attractive/unattractive people deliver a persuasive message to undergraduate participants. The results showed that attractive individuals induced significantly more persuasion on both verbal and behavioural measures.

Another type of altercasting prominent in the advert is high status-admirer altercasting. People may suscribe to the message the high status celebrities are portraying in the clip because they admire them, want to be like them or want to win their approval. One study highlighting the effect of a high status individual on others was conducted by Weick, Gilfillan and Keith (1973) who found that orchestras made fewer errors when playing music attributed to a high or lowstatus composer.

Weick, K.E., Gilfillan D.P., & Keith, T.A. (1973). the effect of composer credibility on orchestra performance. Sociometry, 36, 435-465.

Chaiken, S. (1979). Communicator physical attractiveness and persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1387-1397.


  1. I am wondering what kind of tactic has been used regarding to the repeated click-sound? Clearly it tries to emphasis something: the quickness that a death can occur? the high frequency in which it happens?.....

  2. Just saw this and I couldn't help but chuckle at the irony of the video. Some of the richest people in the world telling us that we can make poverty history...


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.