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 19, 2014

Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Most of you have seen the Old Spice advert above.  The advert was extremely successful, creating long-term media buzz and increasing the sales by 107%. The success of the advert cannot be solely attributed to the bizarreness of the setting and good looks of the man.

To get your attention the advert is featuring a handsome good-smelling man who is contrasted to the man sitting next to you, who smells “like a lady”.  The advert is engaging, giving you suggestive orders “You at me, look back at him…” and together with featuring good-looking man, your perception of low-interest product (such as body wash) is transformed to something more attractive. The advert set the landscape for persuading you to buys the product later on (Pratkanis, 2007).

In Strohmetz et al.’s study (2002), a waiter increased his tips by making the customer feel there is a kind of relationship between them. The waiter either brought over a mint or he wrote a simple thank you at the back of the receipt. This positive affect may have influenced customer’s judgement and increased the tip (Forgas, 1992). The feeling of obligation to reciprocate this little act of generosity is responsible for higher tips (Cialdini, 1993).

Similarly, Old Spice created a personal link between the brand and anyone who commented on the advert on Facebook or Twitter by filming video responses featuring the man from the advert (see the responses here: Old Spice went out of their way to respond to as many as possible. No one expected them to do these video responses.

The old spice campaign has infringed in normal life inspiring men and women to talk about it. This increased awareness, likeability and together with the feeling of obligation (the man actually replied to your comment) and good landscaping, you are very likely to go and buy Old Spice body wash (Cialdini, 1993; Pratkanis, 2007).

Additionally, there is a link ( to the Effie Awards document that describes the aim and outcomes of the advert in more depth.   

Cialdini, R. (1993). Influence (3rd ed.). New York: HarperCollins.

Forgas, J. P. (1992). Affect in social judgments and decisions: A multiprocess model. In M. P. Zanna, (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 25, pp. 227275). San Diego , CA : Academic Press.

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. The science of social influence: Advances and future progress, 17-82.

Strohmetz, D. B., Rind, B., Fisher, R. and Lynn, M. (2002), Sweetening the Till: The Use of Candy to Increase Restaurant Tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32, 300–309.

A blog by Bebe
(Alzbeta Husakova)

1 comment:

  1. Nice Bebe, but I feel your writing could have been a bit clearer in places and better links made between the ad and the science.


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