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, March 3, 2016

Bolt to the finish line with Powerade

With fitness being part of many people’s daily routines, the above advert uses the world famous Usain Bolt to promote the well-known Powerade sports drink by showcasing its benefits. It also indicates that by drinking Powerade you can become as fast and as energised as Usain Bolt.

Celebrity endorsement is a popular method used by a number of brands to increase product sales. But why would the presence of a celebrity make you want to buy the product? It seems to be an effective way to increase the recognition of a brand, whereby when you see a product you may link it back to the celebrity or vice versa. Spry, Pappu and Bettina Cornwell (2011) found that the higher the credibility of the endorser, the higher the credibility of the brand. In this case, Usain Bolt is very talented and successful and therefore has high credibility, automatically increasing the credibility of Powerade.

We also seem to buy a product if we like the person promoting it. Similarity is an important factor within this, whereby if we can see similarities between the celebrity and ourselves we are more likely to buy the product, regardless of whether we actually like it or not. Research has also suggested that the more similar we perceive someone to be to ourselves, the more likely we are to buy a product they are promoting (Woodside and Davenport, 1974).

Although less obvious, a celebrity may also be seen as an authority figure. Since Usain Bolt is a world famous athlete, he is seen as a role model for many aspiring athletes, current sportsmen and even those who are not involved in sport. People everywhere are in awe of his achievements, which makes this a good selling point when promoting a product. Biskup and Pfister (1999) looked at athletes as role models and found that boys look up to athletes, especially males, for their strength and agility. When people have role models they tend to alter their behaviour in order to fit in with how the celebrity may behave, and may act in ways that the athlete would, indicating that sales for powerade would increase in an attempt to be like Usain Bolt.


Biskup, C., & Pfister, G. (1999). I would like to be like her/him: Are athletes role-
models for boys and girls?. European Physical Education Review5(3), 199-218.

Coombes, J. S., & Hamilton, K. L. (2000). The effectiveness of commercially
available sports drinks. Sports Medicine29(3), 181-209.

Spry, A., Pappu, R., & Bettina Cornwell, T. (2011). Celebrity endorsement, brand
credibility and brand equity. European Journal of Marketing45(6), 882-909.

Woodside, A. G., & Davenport, J. W. (1974). The effect of salesman similarity and

expertise on consumer purchasing behavior. Journal of Marketing Research11(2), 198-202.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.