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.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Listen to me, I am beautiful and famous!

This is the first advertisement created by Coco Chanel in 1937 to present to the world her first perfume “Chanel nº5”. Her image became the icon of the perfume until 1954, when Marilyn Monroe said that she used every day a few drops of Chanel nº5 before going to bed. Her image suddenly became the new reference of the perfume, so everyone wanted to buy it just because they wanted to be as glamorous and elegant as Marilyn was.

The principle of compliance that is used in this ad is the one related to liking. This principle says that we tend to comply with the requests of someone we like. One of the ways we get to like someone it is by its physical attractiveness and there are numerous research that prove this.

In 2005, Olsen and Marshuetz said that it seems to be an automatic reaction to attractive people. On the other hand, the Halo effect suggests that physical attractiveness dominates the way the person is viewed by others. This means, if we view someone attractive, we tend to confer him favourable traits such as good person, trustable, etc.

Chaiken (1979) also found that attractive people are more persuasive in changing the opinions of others. If we comply with people we like, and we like people who are attractive, profiteers use this to exploit us and that is way normally we see celebrities in much of the advertisements.

The celebrities give to the advertised product a prestigious position that will make people to want to buy it in order to resemble to the famous character. This desire to identify with the beautiful and attractive figure leads to a very positive persuasive effect.

Marilyn Monroe, worldwide known, is used here in order to people to buy the product with the purpose of trying to be like her. Using famous people in advert is a fact present in our everyday life.

In a study conducted by Suzanne R. Pallak (1983), they wanted to test the hypothesis that the salience of a communicator’s attractiveness influences whether a persuasive communication is processed heuristically or systematically. Female undergraduates read a strong or weak version of a persuasive communication that was accompanied by a vivid colour picture of an attractive male communicator (high-salience condition) or by a degraded copy of the picture (low-salience condition).

The results obtained showed that the strong version elicited greater agreement than the weak version when the communicator’s attractiveness was not salient but that message quality had no effect on agreement when the communicator’s attractiveness was highly salient. This was consistent with the argument that the communication was processed systematically in the low-salience condition and heuristically in the high-salience condition.


Olson, Ingrid R., and Christy Marshuetz. "Facial Attractiveness Is Appraised In A Glance.." Emotion 5.4 (2005): 498-502.

Chaiken, Shelly. "Communicator Physical Attractiveness And Persuasion.." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37.8 (1979): 1387-1397.

Suzanne R. Pallak (1983). Salience of a Communicator's Physical Attractiveness and Persuasion: A Heuristic Versus Systematic Processing Interpretation. Social Cognition: Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 158-170.

1 comment:

  1. Good, i think there is a bit more going on here, for example, association, but what you have is valid.


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