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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

LESS WRINKLES (if you're completely passive)

 I personally cannot imagine this advert having any success in terms of increased sales for this company. There are a few tactics that I can assume they have tried to implement; vivid appeal, message fit and self threat. Although it is doubtful that they implemented them succesfully!
Firstly, it can be argued that vivid appeals were used here, as the two contrasting images are very immediate and striking when viewed so closely together. There is an obvious emphasis on the effects of ageing here, and placing the two pictures side by side, emphasises the stark difference between young and old skin. This tactic has been found to work in some situations (Gonzales, Aronson & Constanzo, 1988) however in this instance I think it has struggled to have the desired effect because the pictures are paired with the argument that this product can reduce the appearance of wrinkles to an impossible level. No one would believe that this product could have such a massive impact and so I think the vivid picture is rather redundant. Others have found that when a vivid appeal is paired with a weak arguement, the effect diminishes (Pratkanis & Aronson, 2001).

The marketing team here may have also tried to use the message fit technique. This technique links the content of messages to the beliefs, experiences and knowledge of the recipient. In this case, they are trying to link the content of the message to the experience of women and the cosmetics industry. Women, and increasingly men too, are targeted with anti ageing products to enforce the belief that looking old is undesirable and that all efforts should be made to avoid it. Such advertising can make consumer more self monitoring of that paticular concern i.e. ageing. The emphasis on image and appearance was found to be more appealaing to high self monitors compared to low self monitors in a study by Snyder and DeBono (1989). DeBono and Packer (2000) rated students as high self monitors or low self monitors and presented them with adverts centred on quality or image. High self monitors rated the quality of products higher after seeing the image related adverts than low self monitors. In the second phase of the study, stuendes were asked to sort adverts that varied on image and quality aspects into categories that were either self relevant or non self relevant. High self monitors rated image based adverts as more self relevant. Thus i think this advert is tryting to tap into our insecurities as it is image based, however I dont think many people would fall for the dramatic difference between the pictures, even if processing it heuristically! Even at a quick glance, I dont think people would fall for the product's claims.

They may also be trying to use self threat; by emphasising that old looking skin isnt desirable, people who are already concerned with their skins appearance may feel threatened by the older skin picture. Research suggests that once this skin is established, then the ground for persuasion is set. However, again, I dont think people would think that this products claims are viable as the photo manipulation is so blatantly obvious that I think even if they were concerned about their appearance, they would cast aside this product on the basis of impossibility.

DeBono, K.G., & Packer, M. (1991). The effects of advertising appeal on the perceptions of product quality. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 194-200.

Snyder, M., & DeBono, K.G. (1989). Understanding the functions of attituds; lesons from personality and social behaviour. In A.R. Pratkanis, S.J. Breckler, & A.G. Greenwald (Eds.), Attitude structure and function (p.339-359). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Gonzales, M.H., Aronson, E., & Constanzo, M. (1988). Increasing the effectiveness of energy auditors: a field experiment. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18, 1049-1066.

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