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 1, 2013

Parody Commercial

This is a parody commercial released by Saturday Night Live in America, which addresses the large outbreak of global interest in the book series 50 Shades of Grey. The commercial effectively uses the combination of both sexual content and comedy to engage its audience. 

The commercial uses the persuasion tactic of establishing a favorable comparison point or set(Pratkanis, 2007). This is a social influence method that results in consumers basing their decisions or available choices on the comparisons they can make to other alternatives. The commercial depicts women after being “caught” in uncomfortable situations while reading the best selling sex novel “50 shades of Grey”, and therefore the better option surely is to purchase a kindle where their reading habits can be more secretive.

In a study by Pechmann and Stewart(1990), it was found that advertisements making no direct comparisons are more likely to result in people purchasing the alternative product that the advertisement is trying to promote(in this case the kindle), with regards to advertisements showing products that already have a high market share(the book form).


Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. The science of social influence: Advances and future progress, 17-82.

Pechmann, C., & Stewart, D. W. (1990). The effects of comparative advertising on attention, memory, and purchase intentions. Journal of Consumer Research, 180-191.

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