Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills 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

Nothing beats an astronaut. Ever.





This AXE Apollo Fireman advert is a humorous one encouraging men to buy their new AXE Apollo products by showing a fireman saving a woman from a burning building; a woman who subsequently runs off into the arms of a random astronaut because ‘Nothing beats an astronaut. Ever.’

This advert uses an example of the high status-admirer altercast technique, whereby an admired person is used to persuade others (Pratkanis, 2007). The fireman, and later the astronaut, are there to be admired and the target audience (men who may want the product) are encouraged to desire to be like the high-status person, in this case because it will get them a girl. Lefkowitz et al. (1995) provided an example of this technique when they found people are more likely to imitate someone of a high-status compared to someone of a low-status. Furthermore, Petty, Cacioppo, and Schumann (1983) found that manipulation of product endorser has greater impact under low than high involvement, and this AXE advert is an example of low involvement, which would be more persuasive with a high-status endorser.

AXE encourages the viewer to enter their competition for the chance to win the unusual prize to actually go into space. By doing this they have utilised the Pique technique, which was demonstrated by Santos, Leve and Pratkanis (1994) when they asked for money in a strange or typical manner. They found the people who were asked the strange request were more likely to give the money than the people who were asked the typical request.  The idea behind this technique is that when given an unusual request, in this case entering a competition to go to space, interest is aroused and the target is more likely to comply with the message, which would be to buy the product and enter the competition.


Lefkowitz, M., Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1955). Status factors in pedestrian violation of traffic signals. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 51, 704-706.

Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Schumann, D. (1983). Central and peripheral routes to advertising effectiveness: The moderating role of involvement. Journal of Consumer Research, 10, 135-146.

Pratkanis (2007). The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. Psychology Press.

Santos, M. D., Leve, C, & Pratkanis, A. R. (1994). Hey buddy, can you spare seventeen cents? Mindful persuasion and the pique technique. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24, 755-764.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work. Can you describe the strange request in Santos et al.?

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