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.

Monday, January 20, 2014

There is no substitute.

This advert shows a Porsche 911 Targa 4 being driven through the countryside, with the tagline “There is no substitute” in the top left. Using association, framing, and limiting the number of alternative choices, this advert is successful in telling customers that Porsche is the best there is. So successful in fact that the tagline is used in a range of their adverts, and Porsche do not even use their logo.

Yoo and MacInnis (2005) found that emotional adverts enhanced participants’ credibility ratings of adverts compared to informative adverts, which in turn positively affected brand attitudes. By creating a positive emotional association between the product and an experience: with the image of driving a Porsche through the countryside, on a clear, sunny day, the advert is giving us something to aspire to and is showing us the life of freedom and adventure we could have.

The tagline is also extremely effective by framing the product in terms of a loss. “There is no substitute” makes us feel as though we are missing out if we do not have one. Ganzach and Karsahi, (1995) found that telling people the losses they would suffer by not using a credit card led to many more uses of the credit card than telling people the benefits of using one. Therefore, a loss-framed message is much more effective than a gain-framed message in getting people to buy a product. Of course, the majority of people cannot afford a Porsche, but this is not the point: by telling us nothing else is good enough it creates a sense of luxury, and an aspiration that people want to reach.

It is well known that limiting the number of choices we have will lead to an easier and more successful product purchase. Iyengar and Lepper, (2000) found that people were more likely to buy a chocolate bar when given a choice of six then when given a choice of 24 or 30. As there is “no substitute” Porsche becomes the only plausible option in this situation, and so successfully creates an easy decision process: if there is no alternative, why would you not want one?  

Ganzach, Y., & Karsahi, N. (1995). Message framing and buying behaviour: A field experiment. Journal of Business Research, 32, 11-17.

Iyengar, S. S., & Lepper, M. R. (2000). When choice is demotivating: Can one desire too much of a good thing? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 995-1006.

Yoo, C., & MacInnis, D. (2005). The brand attitude formation process of emotional and informational ads. Journal of Business Research, 58, 1397-1406.

Katherine Stevens

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