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, February 3, 2014

Everyone's Welcome, Even Straight People

Las Vegas. A city of gambling, alcohol, and sex. For straight people. These adverts were released by R&R Partners, as a way of attracting more gay people to Las Vegas, which has developed the image of being a straight-dominated city. There was a whole collection of adverts created, but let’s just focus on the one above for now.

So in an attempt to change this image they have created an advert where same-sex couples seem to be having a fun holiday in a safe space without fear of discrimination or homophobia. Shrum, Wyer, and O’Guinn (1998) found that what people see in adverts can influence their beliefs about a place, situation, or even a group of people. So when gay people see this advertisement they use it as a source of social proof, and their belief about Las Vegas is likely to shift towards them believing that it is a safe place for gay people. But that isn’t all. This advert takes the commonly used idea, “Everyone’s welcome, even gay people,” and turns it on its head. The phrase “Everyone’s welcome even straight people” makes gay people the in-group and straight people the out-group. This is consistent with a gay person’s view of the world, thus making the advert more relatable to them (Deshpand√©, & Stayman, 1994). Another reason why this advert is effective is its use of young, attractive gay people. Many studies have shown that physical attractiveness can facilitate attitude change (Baker & Gilbert, 1977; Chaiken, 1979). According to Pratkanis (2007), this is because we want to be a part of their world (cue The Little Mermaid Soundtrack).

Las Vegas. A city of safety, fun, and heat for all sexual orientations. That is the impression that these adverts wanted to create, and it may have worked for me. I feel a trip to Las Vegas coming on.

Oliver Stoney

Baker, Michael J. and Gilbert A. Churchill, Jr. (1977), "The Impact of Physically Attractive Models on Advertising  Evaluations," Journal of Marketing Research, 14, 538-555.

Chaiken, Shelly (1979), "Communicator Physical Attractiveness and Persuasion," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1387-1397.

 Deshpande, R., & Stayman, D. M. (1994). A tale of two cities: Distinctiveness theory and advertising effectiveness. Journal of Marketing Research, 31, 57–64.

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.

Shrum, L. J., Robert S. Wyer, Jr., and Thomas C. O’Guinn. 1998. The Effect of Television Consumption

on Social Perceptions: The Use of Priming Procedures to Investigate Psychological Processes. Journal of Consumer Research, 24, 447– 458.

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