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, February 6, 2014

There is Only One True Love


“I bought a pair of shoes with really gorgeous colour yesterday!”

“What colour are them?”

Um… I am not quite sure… It’s like a mixture of blue and green… Oh! It’s Tiffany blue!”

This is a conversation I had with my friend last week. And I realised that “Tiffany Blue” has become a colloquial name for the specific colour. From this we can see how successful and influential the brand “Tiffany and Co” is, since Tiffany blue is the brand’s trademark. Massive advertisements using persuasive techniques contribute to the success of this brand.

Taking the first glance at this post, all we can see is a piece of blue and a bright shining diamond ring−─that’s it! A lot of viewers may have already recognized what the advertisement is before they see the brand’s name because they automatically associate this specific blue colour with the brand. The last principle of the seven principles of visual literacy states that “Visuals trigger strong and immediate emotional responses.”  Tiffany and Co.’s use of this colour immediately triggers a response in the viewer.  The consumer automatically equates this blue with the brand Tiffany. 

“Association” technique works in this ad. The slogan “There is Only One True Love draws a mental link between the diamond ring with love and romance. People then feel that the purchase of the diamond ring leads to the enhancement of true love.  We tend to associate ourselves with positive things, and distance ourselves from negative things. For example, Rosen and Tesser (1970) found that students giving good news to someone would say “you just got a phone call with great news" while those breaking bad news would say “you got a phone call”. Associative casting (Pratkanis, 2007) works here in the way that a viewer may desire to associate him/herself with the positive and wonderful thingtrue love, so will be more likely to buy the diamond ring which would symbolize their love.

Another important persuasive technique used in this ad is “scarcity”.  Diamonds are considered as rare and valuable as true love. “Only One” addresses the scarcity of the product. People usually do mental shortcuts that products with less availability are of better quality. This is evidenced by Knishinsky’s (1980) study finding that customers told that the product was scarce, bought 6 times more than those who received a standard sales pitch.

Social proof” technique is also used in this ad. We tend to determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct (Lun et al., 2007). The slogan “There is Only One True Love” implies that everyone has one true love which is as valuable as the diamond ring. Therefore viewers may feel necessary to buy the diamond ring symbolising the “only one true love” which everyone has.


Cialdini, R. B. (2009). Influence The Psychology of Persuasion. HarperCollins e-books. UK: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Lun, J., Sinclair, S., Whitchurch, E. R., & Glenn, C. (2007). (Why) do I think what you think? Epistemic social tuning and implicit prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 957-972.

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

Yinan Wang

1 comment:

  1. I feel it could read better in places but you have written an appropriate analysis.


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