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

What made me what I am today.

This advert emphasizes the precision and stability of Volvo’s Dynamic Steering, a proprietary technology that makes the Volvo FM easy to drive.

An action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, at the age of 53, performed an incredible stunt, named ‘epic split’. The advert begins with the scene the man stepping each of his feet on the mirrors of the two giant running trucks while they split further apart just 
 until his legs become an absolute 180 degree. Simultaneously as the whole figure of the men and the trucks on the roads come into the screen viewers can slowly become aware of even more unbelievable fact that the two giant trucks are actually accelerating backward…!

In addition to that physics-defying posture, we also hear his voiceover “I’ve had my ups and downs. My fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds. That’s what made me what I am today. Now I stand here before you. What you see is a body crafted to perfection…” that metaphorically implies that it is not much to say that this product is such a well-made piece of creature that has just been born at the cost of the frantic effort for overcoming the time and time of failures in order to present the superiority.

With such a peaceful vocal at the background music of Enya (titled ‘only time’) together with the sunrise view in a landing field in Spain enhances the elegance of the innovative technology by Volvo.

 This advert satisfies Goldenberg’s requirements for quality ads by using the consequence template, aimed specifically at the extreme consequence version as revealed in the several aspects.

The situation set in this case consists of (a) Two gigantic twin trucks uniformly running in parallel (b) while a man is standing upright with his legs at the edge of the trucks that slowly widens their distance. Consequence would be (a) The man with his legs stably bridging the running trucks (Stability). (b)  Other cars which would be blocked behind because of the two trucks lining on two-lane road. (c) A number of Spanish wild animals friendly come to join the run with. The linking operator the interacts between the situation (b) and consequence (a). As a result the extreme situation is created by taking a key attribute of the truck (‘stability’ even when it is reversed) to the extreme (the man could stand bridging on the reversely running trucks). 

Taking the truck drivers as target audience its stability and smooth steering would be a fairly eye-catching feature for the audience who may have been suffering from a back pain after driving the truck, or probably who may have been concerning about their stereotyped - rather rude or insensitive image constructed by the nature of trucks that has to be driven in a rough way regardless of the driver’s intention or character as the steering and other aspects of the truck is not as delicate as the normal docile cars.

Lastly, the fact that this advert goes with not only the good quality of ads but also the humor (an action hero posing like a ballerino) was proven by its numerous spoofs made by other celebrities spread all over the web a while in 2013, which in turn leads to the social proof and consequently to the compliance more by token (Cialdini, 1976).



Cialdini. R., Borden. R., Thorne. A., Walker. R.M., Freeman. S., & Sloan R. L.  (1976) Basking in reflected glory: Three (football) field studies. Journal of personality and social psychology, 34. 366-375.   

Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., & Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18, 333-351. 

Heejae Park         

1 comment:

  1. Good analysis, just watch the writing in places.


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