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 24, 2014

Oh Dear Brad.

So Brad Pitt is stood in the world’s worst nightclub prattling on like a bad extra from Dead Poets Society. Wooed we are not Mr. Pitt.

So let’s break it down.

Last year Miss. Drayton pointed out that the advert used the High Status / Admirer Altercast technique as well as noting the effect of the mysterious (i.e. baffling) nature of the advert. Here’s the link for her accreditation;

Both observations are correct and I would like to identify and explain some more techniques at play here in Brad’s own version of fortune-cookie wisdom corner. Firstly though I’d like to make an observation of the use of the High Status / Admirer Altercast technique (Weick, Gilfillan, & Keith, 1973). Bushman (1984) found that people were more compliant to the request of someone dressed in a business suit as opposed to someone who… well… looks like Brad Pitt in a Chanel No.5 advert. However, I guess when you’re Brad Pitt you can look however disheveled you like and still sell classy smelly-water. This is perhaps the ultimate affirmation of the High Status / Admirer Altercast and borders into the Association technique; that anything linked to Brad Pitt will have his ‘goodness’ rubbed all over it (Staats and Staats, 1985).

So it’s odd, we can all accept that. Odd on purpose though may be a little harder to understand but it got you thinking about it at least, right? Better than sitting through that awful Double Discount DFS rubbish again for the eighteenth time this hour. It piqued your interest through its peculiarity which makes you focus on (and therefore potentially buy) the product (Santos, Leve and Pratkanis, 1994). Doubling up on this though is the fact that Brad Pitt is the first ever male spokesperson for Chanel No.5 following on from a hyper-glamorous female line-up. It’s more piqued interest technique with a tiny little splash of Defector-Confident Altercast (Walster et al., 1966) thrown in to produce something I’m going to coin the ‘Unusual Messenger’ technique; women like seeing Brad Pitt advertise their girly scents and men want to think Brad’s giving them a subtle wink about what the missus might want for Christmas this year.

Finally, we have good old fashioned flattery; “My luck, my fate, my fortune”. That’s you, you lucky girl! And he’s saying these nice things about you because you doused yourself in Chanel No.5. We like people who flatter us and when they do we’re more likely to do what they say and buy what they’re touting (Hendrick et al., 1972).

This advert uses the combination of a good looking man talking obscurely (albeit nicely) to sell you a pretentious lifestyle in a bottle.

This is what $7m buys you in the advertising world apparently. Hope you kept the receipt.

James Ulke

High Status – Admirer Altercast
Weick, K.E., Gilfillan, D.P., & Keith, T.A. (1973). The effect of composer credibility on orchestra   performance. Sociometry, 36, 435-465.

Clothing Compliance
Bushman, B. J. (1984). Perceived symbols of authority and their influence on compliance. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 14, 501-508

Staats, A. W. & Staats, C. K. (1958) Attitudes established by classical conditioning. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 57, 37-40.

Piqued Interest
Santos, M. D., Leve, C., & Pratkanis, A. R. (1994). Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Seventeen Cents? Mindful Persuasion and the Pique Technique.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24(9), 755-764.

Walster, E., Aronson, E., & Abrahams, D. (1966). On increasing the persuasiveness of a low prestige communicator. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2(4), 325-342.

Hendrick, C., Borden, R., Giesen, M. Murrary, E. J., & Seyfried, B. A. (1972). Effectiveness of ingratiation tactics in a cover letter on mail questionnaire response. Psychonomic Science, 26, 349-351.

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