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

Using the Wrong Tampon, and the Associated Risks

Sun, beach, and the succulent flesh of two Russian models in swimwear, filmed in soft, cream-coloured lighting; that's enough to catch half the population's attention to this 30 second master piece. It sets the scene brilliantly for an, now ordinary, admirer altercast campaign by using these beautiful creatures (Reingen and Kernan, 1993), before we even know which demography of audience it is meant to target.

Cool, mood-setting tune in the background, fostering a safe, if not agreeable, ambiance for the viewer, and everyone is ready for the narrative (Hastie & Pennington 2000). The moral of the story is bluntly straight forward, and quite unexpected, provoking a sense of comedy (knowing it is a TV advert mitigates the sense of realness of an actual shark attack, through a process that Aristotle calls mimesis). The viewer is have to exert a bit of cognitive effort to make sense of the story and its relation with the product, and this invested effort is a form of interaction that facilitates the audience in casting the product in a new light, one that's more like a person (a friend even, Dolinski et al., 2001) with whom to share some humor.

An extreme case of landscaping, more specifically of setting expectations, as demonstrated by Kirsch (1999), the take away message is: Use our product, and you can avoid attracting sharks. The valance framing (Tversky & Kahneman 1981) here is abominable, pushing the risk of public embarrassment to the level of being eaten alive, but it reinforces one particular word that makes this advert a champion: Safe (Staats & Staats, 1958).

Qi Peng Wang

Dolinski, D., Nawrat, M., & Rudak, I. (2001). Dialogue involvement as a social influence technique. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1395-1406.

Hastie, R., & Pennington, N. (2000) explanation-based decision making. In T. Connolly, H. R. Arkes, & K. R. Hammons (Eds.), Judgement and decision making (2nd ed. pp 212-228). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Kirsch I. (Ed.). (1999) How expectancies shape experience. Washington, DC: American Psychology Association.

Reingen, P. H., & Kernan, J. B. (1993). Social perception and interpersonal influence: some consequences of the physical attractiveness stereotype in a personal selling setting.Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2, 24-38.

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

Tversky, A., & Kahnemanm D, (1981). The framing of decisions and the psychology of choice. Science, 211, 453-458.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this advert left me with my mouth wide open! A good analysis, but just take care to talk through each point you make. I say this because you have packed lots into a small space and some of the details can become lost.


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