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.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Diamonds? No Thank You!

Natan Jewellers is a Brazilian company specialised in selling diamonds and the above advert was created for Valentine’s Day a few years ago. While receiving a diamond ring on Valentine’s Day is every girl’s dream, the above advert produced by Natan Jewellers rightly caused uproar. The advert implies that the only way to a woman’s ‘heart’ or ‘body’ is through the purchase of their diamonds, thus implying that men should purchase their products for women to allow them into their bedrooms, and this was consequently redeemed offensive by many people, especially women. As diamonds are usually associated with women consumers Natan Jewellers should have used flattery to attract female customers, especially while trying to sell such high-end products, rather than using such an offensive image.

Hendrick, Borden, Giesen, Murray and Seyfried (1972) conducted a study to show the effects of flattery. 400 subjects were mailed a questionnaire either asking for a small (effort) request (one-page questionnaire) or a large (effort) request (seven-page questionnaire). A cover letter was attached to each of the questionnaires, which included the variables of interest for this particular study; either the respondent was flattered (ingratiation of respondent), solicitor was flattered (ingratiation of solicitor), double ingratiation (both flattered) or standard polite (neither flattered). In total there were 8 condition and Hendrick and colleagues analysed the number of participants complied by completing the questionnaire. 

As seen in Table 1, the results showed no difference in return rate on ingratiation when the request was small (one-page questionnaire). However, flattery tactics had a bigger effect in the high request condition. While the standard polite (.10) and double ingratiation (.08) conditions revealed low return rates, both the ingratiation of solicitor condition (.24) and the ingratiation of respondent condition (.29) showed significantly high return rates.

The results from this study show that the use of flattery can have an effect on compliance, especially when making a high request (as seen by the higher return rates). Natan Jewellers should have aimed to flatter the consumer (in this case, women) to increase the chances of females wanting jewellery from their company for Valentine’s Day, especially when making a large request (money) for their product.


Hendrick, C., Borden, R., Giesen, M., Murray, E. J., & Seyfried, B. A. (1972). Effectiveness of ingratiation tactics in a cover letter on mail questionnaire response. Psychonomic Science,26, 349-351.

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