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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Adidas- all in?

The Adidas advertisement starts with glimpses of famous celebrities such as Derrick Rose, David Beckham, Messi and Katy Perry. Using these familiar, famous faces is an easy way to immediately catch our attention. The ad also shows a number of ordinary faces to represent the viewer.  It is set in six different cities in an attempt to appeal to a more global audience. This shows that the product is available in many different cities.

Celebrities are a commonly used persuasive technique by advertisers.
Firstly, the celebrities used, both male and female are generally very attractive. People tend to believe attractive people and pay more attention to them (Pratkanis, 2007). Furthermore these celebrities are highly successful in their respective careers and there is a possible belief that if we use the advertised product we could be more like our idolised celebrities.

Celebrities may also be seen as authority figures. As seen by Milgram’s (1963) experiment, most people tend to listen to figures of authority and do what they’re told without considering the consequences. The ad exploits the idea of social proof. We look to others for the way to behave. Some of the world’s top athletes using the products give it additional credibility.

As a leading provider of sports gear, the use of world-class athletes could be considered experts in their respective fields in their endorsement of Adidas’ products. By being a part of the advertisement, these sports stars implicitly endorse the products. If its good enough for Derrick Rose, Beckham and Messi, why aren’t the products good enough for me?

Returning to social proof, as illustrated by Cialdini (2001) when we are not sure of what to do in a particular situation we look to others as an example of how to behave in a given situation. This ad depicts an abundance of people using Adidas gear, which implies that everyone is doing it. The bandwagon effect is born from our need for social inclusion (Pratkanis, 2007). While watching the ad, you feel that if everyone’s using Adidas, why shouldn’t I? Also, completely opposite to the use of a celebrity, by using ordinary people in the ad, it helps the viewer identify with them. We tend to believe people who are more like us.

We relate to the ordinary people in the ad but are also reminded that buy using the product featured we could be more like the people we look up to or consider role models. This is a good example of using opposite techniques in the same ad.

-Maia Jasubhoy


Carlson, Les (2005). ‘Perspectives on Advertising Research: Views from the Winners of the American Academy of Advertising Outstanding Contribution to Research Award’, Journal of Advertising, 34 (2), p.117-149

Cialdini, R. B. (2009).  Influence The Psychology of Persuasion. HaperCollins e-books. UK: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Milgram, S (1963). "Behavioral Study of Obedience". Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67 (4), 371–378.

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

1 comment:

  1. Good analysis. I think that you mix up social proof and authority in the third paragraph, but apart from that it is good.


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