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.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Should've Gone To Specsavers Effect

This advert was produced by Specsavers opticians. It parodies that of a lynx advert and plays on the well know slogan of ‘the lynx effect’ by merging the straplines from both brands to give ‘the should’ve gone to specsavers effect’ which appears at the end of the ad.  By doing this, their product becomes associated with the positive concepts from the lynx adverts. Such concepts include sex appeal and associated lifestyle of buying the product i.e. if you buy glasses from us you will be surrounded by beautiful women.  They also use the ‘just plain folk’ technique, so that the advert appeals to ordinary people (Pratkanis, 2007).

The advert also embarrasses the target of influence and plays on the concern of maintaining a positive public image. The effect of embarrassment on compliance was shown in a study by Apsler (1975). Participants who were asked to perform a task that made them look foolish were more likely to comply to a request to help another person than those who were not made to look foolish. This compliance to help was found for both an observer of the foolish act and a nonobserver. Apsler (1975) argues that these results show that feelings of embarrassment cause discomfort and so the participants in this experiment seek the positive experience of helping someone in order to relieve this. In relation to the advert, the audience can see that they can avoid feelings of embarrassment by buying glasses from specsavers.

A further and probably the most prominent technique used in the advert is humour. Humour is known to enhance product liking (strick, van Baaren, Holland, van Knippenberg, 2009) and memory as shown by Schmidt (1994) in a study comparing non-humorous and humorous sentences. He found that humorous sentences were better remembered than non-humorous sentences on free recall, cued recall, and on measures of sentence recall and word recall. Furthermore, by entertaining the audience, you are putting them in a positive mood which has been shown to make people more likely to comply with a request (Isen and Levin, 1972)


Apsler, R. (1975). Effects of embarrassment on behaviour towards others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 145-153.

Isen, A. M., & Levin, P. F. (1972). Effects of feeling good on helping: Cookies and kindness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 21, 384-388.

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. New York: Psychology Press

Schmidt, S. R. (1994). Effects of humor on sentence memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory and Cognition, 20, 953-967.

Strick ,M., van Baaren, R.B., Holland, R.W., & van Knippenberg, A. (2009). Humor in advertisements enhances product liking by mere association. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Applied, 15,35-45.

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