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, February 15, 2013

Fiat Palio, "The Car For The Best Time Of Your Life"

This advert is selling the new Fiat Palio and targets the Argentinian market. A couple is shown driving along, they pull over and the girl suddenly announces that she is going to get a boob job. A Big Lebowski rip-off then ensues featuring the man diving into a pair of surgically enhanced breasts. The Fiat Palio is promoted as “The car for the best time of your life” which (apparently) is a parallel to your girlfriend getting a boob job.  Relating cars to women is not a new technique used by car companies and these adverts are often sexualized. A study has also shown that men recall sexual adverts better than non-sexual adverts (Parker & Furnham, 2007) and this campaign appears to be targeting the male market.

Many adverts use humor to make it funny and interesting, this one is no different. Research suggests that humor increases the liking of a product. A study by Strick, van Baaren, Holland & van Knippenberg (2009) demonstrated this and identified mere exposure as the cause of the increase in liking. However, in this commercial the humor may come across as tacky and lacking in taste.

The link between the car and breast augmentation is a tenuous one at best. I am at a loss to see how they are really connected. Also, the advert has potential to be offensive to both men and women. It assumes that all men want their girlfriends to get a boob job, even if they find “fake” boobs unattractive. The advert is sexist, objectifying the woman. A recent study (Ketelaar, van Hemmen & Anschutz, 2012) investigated women’s attitudes towards sexual objectification in advertising using an online questionnaire. The questionnaire measured attitudes towards how women are portrayed in advertisements, the effect this has on company image and purchase intention. Answers were given on a 7-point Likert scale. The results found that women generally do not find sexual objectification in advertising too offensive, however when high levels of sexual objectification are used this is perceived by women as unethical and offensive, resulting in a bad attitude towards the advert. In my opinion this advert has high levels of sexual objectification; in fact the video focuses more on boobs than the car itself.

Another problem with this advert is that none of the risks or complications of breast surgery are mentioned at all. Breast augmentation is depicted merely as a simple lifestyle choice much like buying a new car.

Some argue that sex sells, or is this this just sexist? 


Ketelaar, P. E., van Hemmen, S., & Anschutz, D. (2012). Sexist advertising: do women care? Research into women's attitudes toward sexual objectification in advertising and its effect on general purchase intentions and company image. Journal for Communication Studies, 40(1), 4-25.                  
Parker, E., & Furnham, A. (2007). Does sex sell? The effect of sexual programme content on the recall of sexual and nonsexual advertisements. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21(9), 1217-1228.                
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(1), 35.

1 comment:

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