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 16, 2014

Who doesn't want to be an Angel?

Victoria’s Secret is the largest American retailer of Lingerie. The brand’s most visible spokeswomen are named ‘Angels’ and hold celebrity status. The advert seen here is using the nudity and attractiveness of the ‘Angels’ to sell bras.
Others tend to admire the physically attractive and want to be part of their world. The desire to identify with the beautiful can increase the effectiveness of an advert (Pratkanis, 2007). Here, women desiring to identify with the beautiful are drawn in by the suggestion that if they buy the bras, they too will love their bodies.

Attractive endorsers have been found to be more effective than equivalent counterparts (Harrison, Bjljana & Cornwell, 2001). Kahle and Homer (1985) conducted an experiment in which they investigated how attractiveness in adverts sells. By manipulating sever factors in an advert (attractiveness of celebrity endorser, the level of involvement the target feels with the product and like-ability of the endorser) and then asked participants a series of questions in order to gauge the success of the advert. They found that brand recall was significantly higher by participants who had watched an advert involving an attractive celebrity rather than unattractive, furthermore, this affect was exaggerated in women. To further this, Reingen & Kernan (1993) also found that attractive people as communicators tend to be more effective at selling products.

Nudity is also an effective tool in selling. Sherman and Quester (2005) used a survey to measure attitude towards the brand, advertisement and purchase intentions by asking participants questions about multiple products. It was found that semi-nude adverts created more positive attitudes towards the brand and the advert.

This suggests that by creating this advert Victoria’s Secret will benefit from an increase in bra selling through the desire of women to identify with the Angels and the increased like-ability of a brand that uses attractive, semi-nude endorsers.


Harrison, G., Biljana, J., & Cornwell, B. T. (2001). The Relationship of Advertising Model Attractiveness and Body Satisfaction to Intention to Purchase an Exercise Product. Asia Pacific Advances in Consumer Research, 4 (1), 217-222.

Kahle, L. R., & Homer, P. M. (1985). Physical attractiveness of the celebrity endorser: A social adaptation perspective. Journal of Consumer Research, 4, 954-961.

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

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, 25-38.

Sherman, C., & Quester, P. (2005). The influence of product/nudity congruence on advertising effectiveness. Journal of Promotion Management, 11, 61-89.

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