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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Say “YES” to Sienna Miller?

The starring of famous and sexy British actress Sienna Miller in the advertisement as celebrity endorsement underlies the road urging car lovers to say yes to the fame of the celebrity, as well as the new Ford Mustang.

Celebrity endorsement serves as a tool to generate liking and raise advertisement creditability. Friedman et al. (1977) discovered that advert with celebrities had higher advertisement creditability and purchase intention. Also, Atkin and Block (1983) claimed that celebrities as spokesmen were with greater creditability than that of non-celebrities. So, what is the reason behind? This can probably be explained by liking towards the physically attractive celebrity. Liking usually happens automatically without forethought and thus good-looking people usually benefit from social interaction. (Cialdini, 2009) As indicated in the halo effect, the overview of the impression towards a person is dominated by one positive trait. That means physically attractive people are automatically assigned to characteristics such as intelligent, talented and trustworthy. The selection of physically attractive model- Sienna Miller is thus easier to be liked by the people, and thus gain greater creditability and maintain people’s attention.

Atkin and Block (1983) suggested the endorsers usually consist of attractive quality and be likeable that able to transfer such positive qualities to the products. Hence, the importance of the celebrity’s role is the ability to explicitly associate the positive characteristics of the celebrity (Sienna Miller) with the quality of the car (Ford). (Mukherjee, 2009) That means the beauty and desirability towards the celebrity are linked to the impression towards the car. Regarding this advert, as Sienna Miller was starred, the identity and status of the car owners could be linked with such a high quality woman. Supplementing the suggestion on positive association, a study conducted by Smith and Engel (1968) reported higher ratings on the same car included young model in the advert than the advert that without the model. Accordingly, the car with young model was considered as more expensive-looking, fast, and better designed.

The starring of Sienna Miller takes advantage of her fame and physical attractiveness to gain buyer’s attention and trust. Would you say yes to Sienna Miller or the new Ford Mustang, or both?


Atkin, C., & Block, M. (1983). Effectiveness of Celebrity Endorsers. Journal of Advertising, 23, 57-62.

Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence The Psychology of Persuasion. HarperCollins e-books. UK: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Friedman, H., Termini, S., & Washington, R. (1977). The Effectiveness of Advertisements Utilizing Four Types of Endorsers. Journal of Advertising, 6, 2224.

Mukherjee, D. (2009). Impact of Celebrity Endorsements on Brand Image. Social Science Research Network. [Online], 6th August, available at: [Accessed on 21st January 2014].

Smith, G. H., and R. Engel. (1968). Influence of a Female Model on Perceived Characteristics of an Automobile. Proceedings of the 76th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, 3, 681–682. 

Ching Yiu Ng

1 comment:

  1. A good analysis but the writing is a bit sloppy in places. Try to work on that for next time.


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