The T-Mobile ‘Life’s for Sharing’ advertisement is based around a flash-mob in the middle of London’s Liverpool Street Station, and automatically targets a large audience by depicting people of varied age, ethnicity and social class coming together for the performance of an impromptu dace.
Most apparent, is its use of ‘association’- a landscaping technique whereby the linking of two events transfers positive or negative feelings associated with one onto the other. The mobile company parallels itself with the co-operative and positive flash-mob experience, hence persuading its audience to feel the same way about their services. The ad focusses on the peoples’ happiness upon being involved in the dance, with the camera often zooming into smiling faces, and relies heavily on popular, catchy music to engage its audience. Gerald Gorn conducted a study based on Pavlov’s ‘Classical Conditioning Theory’ whereby he asked participants to choose between an exposed (conditioned stimulus) and unexposed (a possible alternative) neutral product based on their reaction to the music(unconditioned stimulus) played. He found that when the product was paired with agreeable music, the participants were far more likely to choose the product exposed to them than to ask for an alternative; showing how positive feelings towards one object can produce the same feelings for another object.
The company practices the ‘soft-sell’ technique effectively, portraying the advert as a celebration of unifying experience and waiting to reveal its name only at the very end of the dance, and the accompanying slogan, ‘Life’s for Sharing’ succinctly captures and magnifies the message given through the advert, and aims to promote itself as a provider of not only service, but of social consensus. As said by R.Baron, “Messages that do not appear to be designed to change our attitudes are often more successful…than ones that seem intended to reach this goal.”
Thought and Social Behaviour 629) and this idea is
further supported by Walster and Festinger’s (1962) findings through their ‘blind-listening’
experiment, where by students were seen to be more influenced by things they
overheard as compared to things they were told.
The advert also plays on its audience’s emotions for maximum effect.
Baron, Robert A. "Social Thought and Social Behaviour." Psychology- 5th edition. Delhi: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2008. 616-657.
J.Gorn, Gerald. "The Effects of Music in Advertising on Choice Behavior: A Classical Conditioning Approach." Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Winter) (1982): pp. 94-101.
Walster E. and Festinger, L. "The effectiveness of 'overheard' persuasive communications." Journal of abnormal and Social Psychology 65: pp395-402.