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, January 17, 2014

Does Tango really make us wild?

This advert by Tango depicts a picture of the product in the top right hand corner of the page with the strapline “Too much Tango causes you to spy on your Mum and Dad when they’re having sex”. The strapline and use of different text size within it immediately catches your attention especially considering the colour contrast between the orange product and green background.

This advertisement uses association. It associates Tango with doing something wild that you wouldn’t ordinarily want to do. It stands out from other adverts because the strapline is outlandish which invites the reader to find out what product would be suggesting this.

The Association Principle is an advertising technique used to influence a consumer’s decision. Gilovich (1981) demonstrated that students who were asked to rate hypothetical footballers on their potential to play professionally were more likely to rate footballers who had irrelevant comparisons with current professionals in their descriptions highly, than control descriptions. By associating Tango with wild behaviour (which also suggests an increase of energy – a key selling point for fizzy drinks) the advert is encouraging the consumer to drink it because they will become wild which is attractive and exciting to consumers.

The use of the word ‘sex’ in this advert is important as it has been found that sex catches people’s attention in advertising (Blair et al., 2006). From the relative size of the word ‘sex’ you can see that they are using it to capture people’s attention. Key (1976) suggests that advertisers use the word ‘sex’ in their prints because of the implicit sexual associations enhance people’s memorability – a clear goal of advertising.

Finally, this advert sets expectations. Pratkanis, Eskenazi & Greenwald (2010) conducted an experiment where participants were either given a self-help tape to help improve memory or to help increase self-esteem. They were labelled as either memory or self-esteem tapes but half of the tapes were wrongly labelled. Results showed that the tapes did not improve memory or self-esteem but participants thought there was an improvement based on the label. Their beliefs had created a reality that did not exist. This advert sets expectations of making you fun, wild and exciting after drinking Tango and even if this does not occur your expectations will create that false reality for you.

In other words, this advert is effective because it exploits our tendency to notice the word ‘sex’, the associations that go with it and our susceptibility to thinking that expectations equal reality. 

Blair, J. D., Stephenson, J. D., Hill, K. L. & Green, J. S. (2006). Ethics in advertising: Sex sells, but should it? Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, 9(2), 109-118.

Gilovich, T. (1981). Seeing the past in the present: The effect of associations to familiar events on judgements and decisions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40(5), 797-808.

Key, B. W. (1976). Media sexploitation. Englewood Cliffs, N J: Prentice-Hall.

Pratkanis, A. J., Eskenazi, J., Greenwald, A. G. (2010). What you expect is what you believe (but not necessarily what you get): A test of the effectiveness of subliminal self-help audiotapes. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 15(3), 251-276.

Eleanor Silk

1 comment:

  1. Nice. I feel you could have explained the Gilovich reference a little better, but all in all, good attempt.


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