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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Get Inside Her?

At first glance, one could assume the ad is trying to advertise for a lingerie company or fancy high heels, however, after taking a closer look one will soon come to realize that this is entirely wrong. The advert in fact attempts to create awareness for organ donation, specifically for the “Reborn to be alive” organ donor foundation. This ad combines three major advertisement tools in order to grab our attention and thus create interest in the donor foundation. These three tools are sex, shock and humor.

Through presenting a beautiful model in a striking pose in addition with a tagline that states “becoming a donor is probably the only way you get inside of her” the advert clearly creates erotic innuendo and it does so for a good reason, sex sells. Several studies have investigated the effect of sexually appealing content in advertisement on recall and attention span and significant enhancement has been found across various cultures (Liu, Cheng, & Li, 2009). So sex appeal is effective in attracting attention, however, is there any other reason to use it as a tool in this advertisement? There certainly is; a study by Chaiken in 1979 reveals that attractive communicators are significantly more effective in causing attitude change than unattractive/average individuals. This is of great interest for a donor foundation as becoming an organ donor is often associated with negative attitudes. In addition to this it has been found that individuals will strive to become part of the community they associate with attractive individuals (Pratkanis, 2007).

The combination of erotic innuendo and organ donation as done in the advert above is a good example of shock advertising. The initial connection to arousing lingerie advertisement is confronted with the unexpected notion of becoming an organ donor, which then creates shock in the audience. Shocking content has been widely adopted as a marketing technique and has been found to significantly increase attention, memory and positively influences behaviour (Dahl, Frankenberger & Manchanda, 2003).

The tagline “becoming a donor is probably the only way you get inside of her” adds humor to the mix and as past research indicates this is a great and widely used marketing tool. Studies investigating the effects of humor in advertisement reveal that the mere association with humor enhances product evaluations and product choice (Strick, van Baaren, Holland, & van Knippenberg, 2009).

The advert provides a good example of the successful combination of various marketing tools used to attract attention, increase recall and change attitudes from being potentially negative into more open mindedness, essentially associating becoming an organ donor with positive things.


Chaiken, S. (1979). Communicator physical attractiveness and persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(8), 1387.

Dahl, D. W., Frankenberger, K. D., & Manchanda, R. V. (2003). Does it pay to shock? Reactions to shocking and nonshocking advertising content among university students. Journal of advertising research, 43(3), 268-280.

Liu, F., Cheng, H., & Li, J. (2009). Consumer responses to sex appeal advertising: A cross-cultural study. International Marketing Review, 26(4/5), 501-520.

Pratkanis, A. R. (Ed.). (2007). The science of social influence. Psychology Press.

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, 35.

Jan Paul Huwe

1 comment:

  1. Great title! And a well presented piece of work.


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