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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Project 7

Project 7 are a ‘good cause’ company who say that they exist “to do good around the globe”. 
They make and sell everyday products which help donate money to different areas around the globe.  They want to  Feed the Hungry, Heal the Sick, Hope for Peace, House the Homeless, Quench the Thirsty, Teach them Well and Save the Earth”. 

This advert tells the reader that the company is ethical and responsible.  It evokes a sense of guilt in the audience, as everyone knows that there is inequality around the world.  This makes the audience feel guilty, due to the inequality.  Guilt is a powerful persuasive tool.  The individual then feels a sense of responsibility to help suffering individuals.  Causing a desire to change this and repair their self-image.  It gives the consumer a way to do this by purchasing their products so that people less fortunate than themselves will benefit. 
Research has shown that when participants thought they had given a series of painful electric shock to another participant, causing feelings of guilt.  These guilty students were more likely to comply, compared to the control group when the experimenter requested later on for them to make telephone calls in order to ‘save the redwoods’ (Carlsmith & Gross, 1969).    

Additionally, the simple use of the words “give back" in the advert implies that the company has done something for the consumer, meaning the consumer should do something for them.  This is known as reciprocity, where if something is done for you, then you should do something in return.  It is a social obligation which can be used to influence people as they feel an indebtedness; in this instance, purchasing the products.  Research by Regan (1971), has shown that when a confederate gave another participant a coke as a favour, the participant was more likely to purchase a raffle ticket off the confederate later on.
The consumer is more likely to purchase the product in this case because they have a sense of guilt and a way to fix this, but also a feeling that they have to do something for the company.  On an unconscious level, the individuals may also feel like they should purchase the products and help the company, as they have provided a method to reduce the feelings of guilt felt over inequality. 

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