Peripheral Processing, Musical Fit, & Mere Exposure Effect
The following is a video advertisement for two new juice beverages by the company “Absolut Juice” (https://youtu.be/rUkwJoizwP8). The video utilizes famous singer Lizzo surrounded by an abundance of vibrant colors and fruits, including red strawberries and green apples. Throughout the commercial, Absolut Juice plays the song “Juice” by Lizzo in the background, which perfectly compliments the video. This is an example of music as a tool of persuasion, and more specifically, persuasion via the peripheral route. Peripheral processing occurs when “listeners hear, but don’t actively attend to, the music. Background music can affect a person’s mood or emotions, without the person’s full awareness” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 374). In this case, many viewers aren’t very concerned for the lyrics of Lizzo’s song (perhaps besides the word “juice”) and they are more aware of the fun and upbeat tempo the song has. By using such a happy and joyful song, many viewers will, in turn, become content themselves and will see the brand through a positive lens. The choice of this song is also a perfect musical fit for the video. A musical fit is when a song is congruent with the elements of the video (Gass & Seiter, 2018, 374). Because this is a video about juice, having a song that is titled “juice” acts as a perfect fit. Now, whenever people hear this song, they’ll think of the delicious-looking juices in the commercial, which will, in turn, cause more people to buy the product. In fact, this idea is proven through a study that found that the “right kind of music can increase brand recall by as much as 96 percent” (North, Mackenize, Law, Hargeaves, 2004). Not only is the song called juice and not only is it a juice product, but the name of the company is also Absolut Juice, which hints that consumers will easily be able to recall the brand. This advertisement also deals with the mere exposure effect, which states that “repeated exposure to an unfamiliar stimulus increases liking for the stimulus over time. If a commercial includes a popular song or a likable jingle, repeated airings of the spot will facilitate liking for the product” (Hargreaves, 1984; Obermiller, 1985). This is the case for this commercial, for the upbeat and catchy song will most likely make viewers feel happy, and in turn, these viewers will have an increased liking for the product. The target audience of this advertisement consists of 1.) anyone who likes Lizzo 2.) anyone who likes Lizzo’s music and 3.) anyone who likes juice. Furthermore, the target demographic appears to be black women that celebrate diversity and inclusivity. Not many brands use models who are plus-sized and of color, so it shows that this advertisement is appealing to people who support equality and inclusion. Due to this, and the reasons priorly listed, this advertisement is extremely effective.
Subliminal Messages & Embedded Images
The above image is Tostitos’ logo (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/ads-with-subliminal-messages). Tostitos is a popular tortilla chip brand that was created in 1979. The company’s logo utilizes a subliminal message, which is a technique used in marketing and other media to influence people without their being aware of what the messenger is doing (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 368). This would act as an example of a subliminal message, for there is a secret image hidden within Tostito’s logo: two people sharing chips and salsa. The above photo dims the rest of the logo so you can more clearly see the two people, but in the original logo, it is more difficult to spot them (at least for me). In fact, I did not notice the subliminal message in Tostito’s logo until today! Whether people are consciously aware of the hidden message or not, they will still be unconsciously exposed to the image of two friends sharing chips and salsa, which in turn, will make them associate Tostitos as chips that pair perfectly with salsa, or it will make them want to buy the bag of chips (for they are thinking about chips and salsa and are getting hungry). Tostito’s logo is a perfect way to get people inclined to buy Tostito’s chips and salsa, rather than a competing brand, for the image is literally engrained into the logo. This is also an example of an embedded image, which are images that are buried or hidden within an advertisement (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 369). As previously stated, the image of two friends sharing chips and salsa is hidden within the logo–with the T’s representing two people and the I acting as a table with a salsa bowl on top of it. While research has mixed findings on whether embedded images and subliminal messages are effective, Tostitos’ packaging makes me, at least, want to open up a bag and eat those chips with some salsa!
Scent Marketing & Color
The above picture is an image of a Cinnabon store in a mall (https://patch.com/virginia/manassas/cinnabon-opens-manassas-mall). One thing Cinnabon is notorious for is its use of scent marketing. I can’t speak for every mall, but the majority of malls in the United States have Cinnabon’s in them that lure people towards them through the delicious smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. I am guilty of being one of those people. Scent marketing is used when people are attracted to a store because of a smell (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 380). The moment people smell the satiating baked goods, they will instantly become hungry and consequently, be more inclined to go over to Cinnabon and buy a cinnamon roll! “Background fragrances [in stores] result in an increased arousal, pleasure, satisfaction, and intention to purchase” (Roschk, Loureiro, & Breitsohl, 2017). “Other research has shown that pleasant ambient aromas can increase shopping time and improve product evaluations” (Roschk, Loureiro, & Breitsohl, 2017). With this being said, it becomes evident why the use of scent marketing is so effective. When people are passing by the Cinnabon store, or even just looking at the menu, they will still be exposed to the delicious fragrance and as a result, will have increased pleasure and intention to purchase, according to the study. I can first-handily admit that it works on me! Not only does Cinnabon effectively persuade people through the use of scent marketing, but Cinnabon also uses color as a way to induce calming and blissful emotions into customers. Warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow tend to be more stimulating, while cool colors, such as green, blue, and purple tend to be more calming (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 366). As you can see in the photo, Cinnabon utilizes a lot of blue in its stores–from blue packaging, blue logos, to even blue wall decals. This is significant and strategic, for blue induces a sense of calmness, and when people smell the delicious cinnamon rolls and are calm, they will have a very pleasant encounter with Cinnabon. Due to this and the reasons priorly listed, it becomes evident that Cinnabon’s use of scent marketing and color are effective tools in attracting customers to the store.
Iconicity, Syntactic Indeterminacy, & Awareness Through Participation
This is an advertisement for WeightWatchers that was released in November of 2009 through various means, including posters and magazine inserts (https://www.adsoftheworld.com/media/print/weight_watchers_bulges). This is an interactive poster that depicts an overweight woman holding up a sign that reads: “Together we get rid of pounds.” Quite literally, together the public can make the woman lose weight by tearing off the strips of the poster–exposing the same model but much skinnier. This advertisement utilizes iconicity, which is when “the image stands for and resembles the things they represent” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 339). Part of iconicity includes being selective over which images are used in advertisements. This includes tailoring the lighting, camera angle, perspective, etc. to fit the advertisements needs. This is demonstrated in the WeightWatchers’ advertisement, for the company had to get a very specific image of the model in order to achieve the tear-off poster. This advertisement also incorporates elements of syntactic indeterminacy, which is the idea that pictures cannot convey precise relationships between things like words can (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 340). For instance, this poster can show what the model would look like before and after the WeightWatchers’ program, but it cannot verbally explain the cause-effect relationship the program had on the individual. However, this can “work to a persuader’s advantage” by using pictures “to equate one thing with another, via association” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 341). To analyze this poster to an even further extent, it becomes evident that it includes elements of art to increase awareness through participation. Awareness through participation is defined as art that is collaborative or interactive in nature and that allows regular people to participate in the process of creating art (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 344). This is the case for this poster, for the premise of the advertisement is to allow regular people to tear off snippets of the flyer in order to create the final result. This advertisement is targeted towards anyone who wants to lose weight, but more specifically, it is geared towards white, adult women who want to lose weight. The model in the advertisement is a white, middle-aged woman, which alludes that the target audience of the poster is that same demographic. Due to this and the reasons priorly listed, this advertisement is extremely effective.
Image-Based Advertising, Picture Superiority Effect, & Sense of Place
The above picture is an example of the packaging for “Angel Soft Toilet Paper” (https://www.walmart.com/ip/Angel-Soft-Toilet-Paper-18-Mega-Rolls-72-Regular-Rolls/560670675). The packaging depicts a baby that has angel wings and appears to be surrounded by white, fluffy clouds. The premise of the packaging for “Angel Soft Toilet Paper” would be related to image-oriented or image-based advertising. Such methods of advertising rely on the syntactic indeterminacy of images. By pairing a product with a favorable image, an advertiser can equate the two without actually saying so in words (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 352). Such is the case for Angel Soft’s toilet paper. The company uses the image of a baby with smooth, soft skin and clouds that appear fluffy and suave to equate that the toilet paper is extremely soft–just as soft as a baby’s skin or a cloud. Although the packaging doesn’t explicitly state the correlation, it becomes apparent through the use of images. This corresponds to the picture superiority effect for images, which states that pictures are more easily recognized and recalled than words (Hockley, 2008; Pelli, Farell, & Moore, 2013; Stenberg, 2006). If the packaging stated: “Our toilet paper is as soft as a baby’s skin and/or clouds,” people would not remember or make the association as quickly as they would through images. These images will stay in the viewer’s mind for a longer period of time and the viewer will be able to recall the packaging of the toilet paper more-so than if the packaging did not include such images. Finally, this advertisement creates a sense of place, belonging. This is when advertisements “strive to create a sense of hominess. The advertisers want you to get a warm, comfortable, familiar feeling when you think of their products” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 354). This is case-and-point with Angel Soft’s packaging. The packaging wants to create a sense of familiarity and bliss. By having a baby, which everyone is familiar with, on the cover of the toilet paper’s packaging, people will instantly get a sensation of wholesomeness and happiness. Due to this and the reasons priorly listed, it becomes evident that Angel Soft’s packaging is effective in conveying the soft and soothing nature of its toilet paper without directly stating so.
This is a video by BELLA + CANVAS, an eco-friendly clothing company (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZ9XvO-Mehs). This video goes into detail on the various efforts BELLA + CANVAS is taking in order to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The video utilizes indexicality, which is the ability of images, in particular photos and videos, to document an event or something that took place (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 339). In the video, BELLA + CANVAS documents the machinery, the way the clothes are produced, the proper disposal of excess materials, and the solar panels implemented on the roof of the building. This way, the viewer not only verbally hears about the various methods BELLA + CANVAS uses to become more eco-friendly, but they are able to see all of the ways, as well. BELLA + CANVAS would be an example of an authentic or genuine brand. These brands are unpretentious and are real in a marketplace that is phony. These brands also probably have a good story to tell, and in the case of BELLA + CANVAS, they do (Gass & Seitier, 2018, p. 353). The video makes the company come off as very eco-friendly and transparent. Because the video literally showcases the numerous efforts the brand makes to be sustainable, people will perceive the brand as very authentic and open–for it is not trying to hide any foul or harmful practices. This corresponds to ethos and logos, for the brand establishes its credibility through its environmentally conscious decisions, but it also displays quantifiable data on how its efforts have significantly reduced the company’s environmental impact (such as by saying that the brand has reduced its water usage by 7 times, for it uses three pounds of water per fabric instead of nine pounds, which is what most companies use). This video relates to cause-related advertisements, which occurs when consumers are swayed to buy a product because the company is either eco-friendly or giving a portion of the proceeds to good causes (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 353). In this case, many people will watch this video and be more inclined to support BELLA + CANVAS instead of other clothing companies, for they know that BELLA + CANVAS is helping conserve the environment. Due to this and the reasons priorly listed, it becomes apparent just how effective indexicality, genuine brand positioning, ethos/logos, and cause-related advertisements can be.
The following video is a commercial Apple released in November of 2018 (https://youtu.be/aMowWZHk6hY). The animated video shares a heartwarming story of an aspiring writer that is too afraid to share her talent with the world, and when her story is accidentally released to the town, all of the townspeople think her writing is amazing. This commercial utilizes the attachment theory, which refers to how people develop emotional ties to specific brands (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 311). Because this advertisement utilizes a more emotional approach to persuasion (pathos), many will create an emotional attachment to Apple. This is not the only Apple advertisement that produces an emotional response–Apple is well-known for its sentimental advertising strategies. Time and time again, Apple utilizes such strategies due to their effective nature; “emotional appeals outperform positive rational appeals” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 312). Going hand-in-hand with the pathos of the persuasive message, it also utilizes warmth appeals, which refers to advertisements that create a warm, cozy feeling. “They emphasize family, friends, and a sense of belonging” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 313). This is evident in the advertisement, for the whole concept of the commercial is to create a sense of belonging in the audience. Apple wants them to feel safe and warm and fuzzy through using warm-toned lights in the girls’ room, soothing music playing over the animations, and a story that has a hopeful and inspiring message. As much as this advertisement is promoting Apple, it is also promoting Billie Eilish’s song “Come Out and Play,” which is the song that is playing in the background of the commercial. When people see such a warm-hearted commercial with such a soft and blissful song, they are going to be more inclined to not only buy Apple products, but buy the song, as well. This refers to hedonic nature, which is when people purchase items based on pleasure, such as music or clothing (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 312). People will purchase the song after watching this advertisement because the song will bring them pleasure. The song will remind them of the cozy and wholesome advertisement, which will re-ignite these feelings in the consumer every time they listen to the song. The target audience of the advertisement is females who are in their late teens to early twenties. More specifically, the target audience of the persuasive message is anyone who has a hobby or is passionate about something such as writing, drawing, producing music, etc. When such a target audience sees this advertisement, they will be able to visualize themselves as if they were the girl in the video–making them more inclined to buy Apple products.
Ingratiation, Other Enhancement, & Liking
The following video is an advertisement titled “You’re Beautiful” by Dove (https://youtu.be/jCaQfV8syyw). This persuasive message was released in May of 2013 through various outlets, including commercials, YouTube channels, and other social media platforms. This advertisement relies heavily on ingratiation, which refers to flattery as a motivational inducement; “ingratiation works–and it works well” (Gordon, 1996). In this video, Dove promotes the idea that people are more beautiful than they think they are. They explicitly state such a message at the end of the video by saying: “You are more beautiful than you think.” This phrase is an example of ingratiation, for it is a form of flattery; Dove is directly complimenting the viewer. More specifically, such a form of flattery is called other enhancement, which is defined as “paying compliments or engaging in flattery” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 326). This is significant, for ingratiation tends to increase liking, it can create perceptions of similarity, and it can also work through social labeling(Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 326). Everyone likes being complimented, and by complimenting everyone that watches this advertisement, more people will begin to think of Dove in a positive light. Aside from its use of ingratiation, this advertisement does include some elements of warmth appeals–it makes viewers feel content and warm about themselves. This, in turn, makes viewers perceive Dove as a more caring and charismatic brand. The target audience of this advertisement is adult women, for the advertisement focuses on adult women that appear to be in their thirties. Furthermore, the target audience is more precisely defined as adult women that are insecure with themselves and their appearances, whether they are slightly insecure and harsh towards themselves or very insecure. Because Dove is targeting a more vulnerable population and telling them they are beautiful, this advertisement will resonate with the audience and, therefore, be more persuasive.
Sex Appeals, Objectification Theory, & Self-Objectification
This is an advertisement for Burger King that was released in 2009 to promote their new sandwich: the BK Super Seven Incher (https://nataliecupac.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/burger-kings-super-seven-incher-itll-blow-your-mind-away-this-ad-definitely-does-but-for-all-the-wrong-reasons/). This advertisement alludes to a sexual act in order to produce a shock value in the viewer and make the advertisement more memorable from other advertisements of the time. Quite evidently, this advertisement uses sex appeals, which is a form of advertising that uses sexual references and/or sexual imagery to persuade and entice consumers (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 322). Because this image references a sexual act, it poses as a clear example of a sex appeal in advertising. This advertisement, however, shows little regard for women, as evinced in the objectification theory. The objectification theory states that females are more likely to be seen as objects or things in advertisements (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 323). This is demonstrated in the poster, for the female model is objectified and used as a mere puppet/toy rather than as an individual. Advertisements that objectify women are responded to less favorably by women, and for obvious reasons. Objectifying women in advertisements can lead to self-objectification, which is when women begin to view themselves as objects (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 324). If you are a female and are constantly seeing females degraded and objectified in posters and advertisements, you are going to start to think that you truly are an object–which is a very poor and unjust mindset to have. With this being said, it becomes apparent just how harmful these types of advertisements can be. These advertisements aren’t even that effective–“sex-appeal ads may be ineffective if people are only drooling over the models and not paying attention to the product that’s advertised (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 324). This is the case for this advertisement. More people are going to be paying attention to the sexual reference in the poster than the actual restaurant and food item. This is bad for Burger King, for no one will be aware of its new sandwich, but instead, people will only be aware of the controversial advertisements Burger King has out. Due to this and the reasons priorly listed, I do not find this advertisement effective.
The Four-Factor Model & The Sending Capacity Hypothesis
The following video is a compilation of “Liars humiliated on TV,” but I am only going to reference the first clip from the video (0:00-3:13). In the clip, a woman is being accused by her boyfriend of cheating on him and having a baby with another man (https://youtu.be/sKcejKu4jQY). However, the woman in the video denies ever doing anything of the sort and consistently claims that her boyfriend is her son’s true father. The woman adopts several of the strategies discussed in chapter twelve, including from the four-factor model. In the video, the woman utilizes attempted control so that her claims of not cheating and being innocent appear real to both her boyfriend and the audience members. Attempted control is when people “try to control their behaviors” by acting pleasant and remaining calm (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 289). The woman in the video employs this strategy for she never hesitates nor stutters when she says that she did not cheat. Furthermore, she sits in her chair with her legs crossed and her under eyes still wet from tears, illuminating that she is trying to come across as the victim–that she is being falsely accused of cheating. We know the tears and the assertiveness is an act, for she did, in fact, cheat on her boyfriend (proven through the baby’s DNA test), indicating that every emotion she experiences on TV is an act of attempted control. The woman also unintentionally utilizes the sending capacity hypothesis, which occurs when people who are lying and trying to control their behaviors pay more attention to some cues (such as facial expression and words) than others (such as body movements and gestures) (Ekman & Friesen, 1969, 1974). Although the woman does adopt a believable facial expression (full of tears and quivering lips) and convincing speech (through an assertive tone), she forgets to pay attention to her body movements; her face and words seem like she’s honest but her gestures indicate a level of uncertainty. When the host of the show reads the results of the lie detector test the woman took (and exposes that she was lying), the woman in the video begins to shake her leg. She proclaims: “that’s not true” with such confidence, yet her leg continually moves up and down–indicating a level of paranoia and nervousness. With this reaction to the lie detector test, it becomes evident that the woman also employed an aroused/anxious behavior (from the four-factor model) during the polygraph test. People become “more aroused or anxious when telling lies than when telling the truth,” which is why polygraphs tend to be so successful (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 289). The woman in the video took a lie detector test before the filming in the video, and before the results were announced, she seemed confident that she was able to out-smart the system and get away with an innocent profile. However, the polygraph test was able to detect her increased levels of anxiety during the exam, indicating that she was indeed lying when she said she has not slept with other men. The woman in this video acts as a perfect example when examining the four-factor model and the sending capacity hypothesis.
Lie to Affiliate, Prepared Lie, Truth Bias, & Truth-Default Theory
The following is a series of clips from the 2004 film Mean Girls that depict the blossoming relationship between characters Cady Heron and Aaron Samuels (https://youtu.be/WUDVbqHl2ko). In this clip, Cady Heron (played by Lindsay Lohan) has a crush on Aaron Samuels (Regina George’s boyfriend) and wants to spend more time with Aaron even though he is dating Regina at the moment. Because of this, she pretends to be bad at math (even though she is secretly a math-genius) so that Aaron can tutor her. This is an example of lie to affiliate, which occurs when someone lies so that they can spend more time with someone (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 285). In this case, Cady Heron is lying about her intelligence so that she can spend one-on-one time with Aaron Samuels. She successfully convinces Aaron Samuels that she is failing math through two main methods: a prepared lie and Aaron’s truth bias. A prepared lie is a lie that is well thought out and is typically more successful than a spontaneous lie, for the liar is “less aroused, ha[s] more control, and [does] not find lying as cognitively difficult” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 294). Cady realizes that if she wants to get closer to Aaron, she needs an excuse to talk/spend time with him. So, she devises her plan to lie about her intelligence before asking him to tutor her so that she is not unprepared nor nervous when asking him. Furthermore, she intentionally fails her exams leading up to the moment before she asks him to tutor her–indicating that she has been preparing this lie for a while and is setting it up to appear true. Aside from Cady’s prepared nature, she is also successful in lying to Aaron due to Aaron’s truth bias. A truth bias is when people “assume that other[s] are being honest” and are telling the truth (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 295). This relates to the truth-default theory, which aligns with truth bias, for it states that when people are being deceptive, the truth bias makes detecting it less likely (Levine, 2014). This is evident in the clip, for Aaron believes that Cady is telling the truth–I mean, who would intentionally fail a class just to spend more time with someone? Aaron’s truth bias becomes evident when he initially tells Cady that tutoring her won’t be a problem, for he views the situation as a friendly one. This indicates that he truly does think Cady needs a tutor, emphasizing how he does not witness her deceiving nature. If he was aware that she was lying and could see her true intentions, he would have turned down the offer. This video acts as a perfect example when examining the lie to affiliate principle, prepared lies, truth bias, and truth-default theory.
The Interpersonal Deception Theory & The Machiavellian Personality
To put it simply, Mean Girls is the epitome of lying, deceiving, and going behind people’s backs, which is why it’s making a second appearance in my chapter twelve blog entry. In this scene, Cady creates a multi-user phone call in hopes to pit Gretchen, Karen, and Regina George against each other (https://youtu.be/hVN7TJRRskQ). Cady wants to destroy Regina, and one way she intends to do it is by turning Regina’s loyal followers against her. This clip displays the interpersonal deception theory, for Cady is manipulating the information in her messages. According to the interpersonal deception theory, liars manipulate the information in their messages to avoid being detected (Burgoon & Buller, 2004, 2008). This includes dissociating themselves from the message, conveying uncertainty or vagueness, or withholding information (Burgoon & Buller, 2004, 2008). This is displayed in the video, for Cady is actively withholding information from the various members of the call. She does not tell Regina that Gretchen is listening to their conversation (which is a form of withholding information). Because she does not inform Regina that Gretchen is overhearing everything, Regina feels as though she can tell Cady the truth–how she feels Gretchen isn’t pretty enough to win the Spring Fling Queen and that Karen is too promiscuous to win it, as well. This emphasizes how by intentionally withholding information, Cady was able to successfully pit the various members of the Plastics against each other. Through this clip, it becomes apparent that Cady Heron hones a Machiavellian personality, for she is “not that interested in interpersonal relationships, [she] manipulates others for selfish purposes, and [she] has little sense of social morality” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 293). In the clip, it becomes evident that she does not truly care about her interpersonal relationships, for she goes behind Regina’s back and is only appearing kind to Gretchen and Karen to promote her own, personal agenda. She manipulates these three girls so she can get revenge on Regina for embarrassing her in front of Aaron Samuels, indicating how she manipulates others for her own, selfish purposes. Finally, it becomes evident that she has little sense of social morality, for she feels no remorse or regret for pitting these friends against each other. All that matters to her is her own personal happiness. Additionally, she further fits the Machiavellian personality because “she appears more innocent” while deceiving others (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 293). When she’s pitting Regina against Gretchen and Karen, she appears as innocent and kind to them. She appears as though she’s a nice person who is helping them stray away from a toxic person, when in reality, she is only using them to get what she wants. With this being said, this video acts as a perfect example when examining the interpersonal deception theory and the Machiavellian personality type.
Door-In-The-Face Tactic & The Perceptual Contrast Effect
This is a clip from the popular television series The Big Bang Theory (https://youtu.be/xdYtZZZU-Jg). The video title is “foot-in-the-door,” however, this video actually deals with another prominent concept from chapter eleven: door-in-the-face (DITF). The door-in-the-face tactic is when someone first makes “a request so large that it is turned down, then follow[s] it up with a second, smaller request” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 268). This video demonstrates the door-in-the-face tactic, for Sheldon first asks Penny a huge favor, asking her to give him a sponge bath. After Penny turns down the request, Sheldon follows it up with a smaller favor, asking Penny to apply “Vapo-rub” to his chest. This is a much smaller request than Sheldon’s initial one, which makes Penny more willing to do it. This clip also applies the perceptual contrast effect, which states that people comply with the second, smaller task rather than the initial, for the “second request seems much smaller than it normally would have” (Cialdini, 1993). Because Sheldon already asked her to give him a bubble bath (which is far too much to ask of Penny, his friend), Penny views the task of rubbing “Vapo-rub” on his chest as easy and not that big of a favor. Furthermore, this clip also employs the guilt-based account, which argues that people comply with the second request after feeling guilty for not helping with the initial one (O’Keefe & Figgé, 1997). In the video, the actress that plays Penny highlights the fact that she is helping Sheldon out of guilt rather than pure desire to do so. Because Penny turned down his initial request, she feels more obligated to aid him in his second, smaller one. Finally, there is little elapsed time between the first and second requests, which makes the door-in-the-face tactic that much more effective, for “compliance is increased when the delay between two requests is short” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 270). With this in mind, it becomes apparent how this clip acts as a perfect example of how to use the door-in-the-face tactic.
That’s Not-All Tactic & The Norm of Reciprocity Effect
This is a video advertisement by JustFab UK (https://youtu.be/L4dItt-lxk0). The video was released in October of 2014 through various outlets: commercials, YouTube, and social media platforms. This commercial uses the that’s-not-all tactic, for it makes a request and then emphasizes an additional argument before asking the consumer to comply with the request (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 270). At the end of the advertisement, the narrator states: “for 35 pounds, you get a pair of shoes, a personal stylist, and free delivery. Buy one get one at justfab.co.uk.” This is an example of the that’s-not-all tactic, for it adds on items and other “free” perks to make the deal seem more appealing to the viewer. Furthermore, this advertisement uses the norm of reciprocity effect. This effect states that “it is desirable to repay what another person has provided us” (Cialdini & Goldstein, 2004), for if you don’t repay them, then you appear like an “ungrateful freeloader” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 263). This effect is exemplified in this advertisement, for JustFab appears to be doing the customer a favor by giving them two shoes for the price of 35 pounds, a personal stylist, and free delivery. This, in turn, makes the consumer feel obligated to buy the product, thereby “reciprocating the seller’s action” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 2018). The target audience of this advertisement would be any female in her early twenties to late forties/early fifties. Furthermore, this video is targeting women who are lower-middle-class to lower-class, for it emphasizes the fact that the shoes are only $35. With this being said, it becomes apparent that the video does not target high self-monitors. This persuasive message is specifically targeting females that are in relationships, for the premise of the video is that a boyfriend/significant other is going to the store to buy shoes for his girlfriend. Though this video feeds into stereotypes that women crave material items and that men do not have fashion taste, the company hopes that it will resonate with many females whose boyfriends do not have the best style and consequently create a positive image of the brand in their head.
Bait-And-Switch Tactic & Low-Balling Technique
This is a screenshot of one of the many movies listed on Amazon Prime’s video list. This screenshot exemplifies the bait-and-switch tactic, for it states that there is a great deal to lure people into buying something, yet it turns out that the deal does not actually exist (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 274). When Amazon advertises Amazon Prime, they include numerous posters about the countless movies they have on Amazon Prime. Yet, when people actually buy Amazon Prime, they realize that they have to pay an additional amount of money to buy/rent the movie they want to watch on Amazon Prime, in addition to the monthly subscription fee that they’re already paying for. This acts as an example of the bait-and-switch tactic, for it upsells consumers to rent or buy the titles they want to see. Furthermore, Amazon Prime also utilizes the low-balling technique, for it depicts a sale that is “too good to refuse,” and after purchasing the deal, you realize that it truly was too good to be true (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 272). When people buy Amazon Prime, they think that they’re receiving this amazing deal–thousands of acclaimed, newly-released movies for only $12.99 a month! However, upon purchasing this “deal,” they realize that a significant portion of the movies Amazon Prime offers cost additional money. Though many customers may be upset by such an occurrence, the low-balling technique is still effective, for “the customer is still buying the product he or she wanted, but at a higher cost” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 274). When the new Amazon Prime user sees that they have to pay an additional $2.99 (for example) to watch the movie they want to, they will, of course, be disappointed, but they will still be more willing to pay the additional fee because they one, already paid for Amazon Prime, and two, already have their desires set on watching this movie now. Due to this and the reasons priorly listed, it becomes evident that Amazon Prime’s use of the bait-and-switch tactic and the low-balling technique are extremely effective.
Rewarding Activities, Personal Benefits, & Noninterpersonal Short-Term Consequences
The following video is a clip from the popular movie franchise Pirates of the Caribbean(https://youtu.be/piDWQ7spN_4). In this clip, Will Turner wants Jack Sparrow’s help in leading him to the Black Pearl and capturing the heart of Anne Bonny. At first, it seems as though Will Turner is trying to get compliance out of Jack Sparrow, but towards the end of the clip, the roles are reversed and Jack Sparrow is the one attempting to get Will Turner to free him from his prison cell. Due to this, it becomes evident that this clip uses rewarding activities, which is one of the main roots of compliance-gaining research. Rewarding activities involve “seeking compliance in an active and positive way (e.g., making promises)” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 237). This is evident in the video when Will Turner says that he’ll help Jack Sparrow escape if Jack Sparrow promises to help him. Will Turner is giving Sparrow a reward for potentially helping him, which makes Sparrow feel more inclined to do so. However, at the end of the video, it seems as if Will Turner is on the fence about the whole ordeal, for suddenly Jack Sparrow is the one trying to convince Will Turner. Sparrow says: “If you spring me from this cell, I swear on pain of death I shall take you to the Black Pearl and your Bonny Ice.” This exemplifies rewarding activities, for Sparrow says that by freeing him from his prison cell, he will help Will Turner with his endeavors (which is an example of making promises). With this being said, it becomes apparent that this video also demonstrates personal benefits, which is the situation factor in compliance-gaining behavior. Personal benefits are “the extent to which the self or the other is benefited by compliance” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 240). This is demonstrated in the video clip, for both Will Turner and Jack Sparrow will gain personal benefits by complying with the other. If Jack Sparrow helps Will Turner he will be freed from his prison cell and if Will Turner helps Jack Sparrow, he will be able to go to the Black Pearl and meet up with Anne Bonny. Furthermore, this snippet is an example of noninterpersonal short-term consequences. Noninterpersonal short-term consequences as when little is know about the other person when trying to pursue a short-term compliance goal (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 242). This seems to be the case in the movie, for Jack Sparrow asks Will Turner “what’s your name?” indicating that the two are not acquainted and know very little about each other. Furthermore, their compliance is short-term rather than long-term for they simply need help with one task and after that task, there will be no lasting effect on their compliance on one another. When Jack Sparrow is freed from his cell, the promise he was told is fulfilled and after Jack Sparrow helps Will Turner go to the Black Pearl, the promise he told Will is fulfilled. Due to this and the reasons priorly listed, this clip acts as a perfect example of rewarding activities, personal benefits, and noninterpersonal short-term consequences in compliance-gaining behavior.
This is a clip from the popular movie franchise Now You See Me(https://youtu.be/_cPEN_xMdOs). In the snippet, two FBI agents are interrogating Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson’s characters. This clip uses various theories and concepts from chapter ten, one being its use of coercive power. Coercive power is when someone has “the ability to inflict punishments (e.g., fire you)” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 244). The two FBI agents have the ability to throw Eisenberg and Harrelson in jail, indicating that they have coercive power over the two magicians, and therefore have more power in the compliance-gaining behavior. Not only do these agents exude coercive power, but they also possess legitimate power, which is power that is “based on formal rank or position” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 244). These two types of power are very similar, for these are trained and skilled FBI agents, meaning that they have power in their job positions and titles. Having such authority makes them appear as more convincing for they have the ability to inflict more severe punishments on those who do not obey or listen to their commands. Not only do these agents adopt various types of power, but they also utilize the politeness theory, which states that “all people are motivated to maintain two kinds of face: positive and negative” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 245). This is relayed in the video, for the female FBI agent acts as the positive face, which occurs when “others like, respect, and approve of us” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 245). In the clip, Jesse Eisenberg’s character likes and approves of the female FBI agent. He slides a Pepsi across the desk and tells her that she can keep it, but that she can’t share it with the other FBI agent (who is aggressive). Furthermore, he tells the agents that if they put him in jail, they will look like idiots, but then he turns to the female cop and says “well, no not you,” indicating that he likes and approves of her. Jesse Eisenberg’s character, on the other hand, maintains a negative face, for he does not “feel constrained or impeded by others” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 245). Even when he is being interrogated, he takes control of the conversation and tells the agents what is going to happen instead of the other way around. He states: “you won’t [arrest me] because if you did it means that you and the FBI and your friends at Interpole actually believe at an institutional level in magic.” This shows that he does not feel the slightest bit worried or constrained by the FBI agents, but rather actually feels more in power than they do. Because of this and the reasons priorly stated, this clip acts as the perfect example in displaying the various uses of coercive power, legitimate power, positive faces, and negative faces.
This is an email I received from Curology, a subscription skincare brand that gives each member a personalized skincare routine, as suggested by one of their board-certified dermatologists (https://curology.com/). I used Curology for about two months then canceled my subscription after not seeing results. However, I still get emails from the company, and this email is one of them. This email uses various theories and concepts from chapter ten, with one of them being scarcity. The principle of scarcity states that “when objects or opportunities are in short supply, we value them more. As such, when something is ‘limited edition’ or on sale for a ‘limited time,’ you might be persuaded to buy it” (Cialdini, 1993, 2016). Scarcity is demonstrated in this email, for Curology is offering a limited time offer, claiming that they will give me “$10 off [my] next shipment if [I] resubscribe in the next 2 days.” This relates to compliance, for the email is not trying to persuade me that Curology is the best option for me, but rather it is trying to merely get me to subscribe by luring me in with a limited-time discount. Not only does this email utilize the principle of scarcity, but it also touches upon the goals-plans-action theory, which “argues that people pursue different types of goals when they are trying to influence someone. These goals are important because they determine the types of strategies that people plan to use when trying to gain compliance” (Dillard, 2004, 2008). Because I have already used Curology before, they will use different strategies on me versus someone that has never used the subscription service before. More specifically, in this email, Curology uses a secondary goal. Curology wants to maintain a positive relationship with me and does so by using friendly language (such as “a provider who sticks with you” and “we’re sorry we didn’t get it right the first time”). This relates to resource goals, which are “concerned with maintaining a relationship and increasing personal rewards” (Dillard, 2008). Because Curology wants to maintain a healthy relationship with me, it makes sense that they would utilize such amiable language. They want me to realize how much they care about me and how I am not just another number to them. They conclude the email with the line: “If you’ve moved on, we understand! We wish you all the luck in your skincare journey. Just know we’re always here for you.” This is a perfect example of resource goals, for they come across as a friend rather than a multi-million dollar company. They use interaction goals, for they want to create a good impression on me, and therefore, behave in appropriate ways (Dillard, 2008). Who knew one email could adopt so many strategies in convincing me to comply and resubscribe to Curology? Due to the numerous strategies Curology utilized, this email acts as an extremely effective way to get unsubscribed individuals to rethink their decision.
This is a video advertisement by Old Spice (https://youtu.be/uLTIowBF0kE). The company utilizes famous actor and football player Amir Mustafa to emphasize that Old Spice will make you smell like a man. This message was disseminated in June of 2010 through various outlets, including commercials, YouTube videos, and website placement. Though extremely successful for the time, I’m not so confident this advertisement would be as effective if it were released today. 2020 is a different time than 2010–people are more politically active and aware. Because this advertisement focuses on the idea that Old Spice makes you smell like a true man, many people may find that it toys into toxic masculine behavior. This persuasive message relates to the Implicit Conclusions Approach, for rather than explicitly stating all of the benefits Old Spice provides, it asks a series of questions such as: “Can [your man] smell like me? Yes” “Should he use old spice body wash? I don’t know” “Do you like the smell of adventure?” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 211). The video ends with the line: “Should your man smell like an Old Spice man? You tell me,” indicating that it is asking the viewer to draw their own conclusions instead of explicitly directing them to buy Old Spice. If Amir Mustafa said: “Buy Old Spice,” that would be an example of the Explicit Conclusions Approach, for it is directly telling viewers what actions they should take (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 211). Using the Implicit Conclusions Approach, in this case, is more effective, for receivers “tend to prefer their own conclusions” (Kardes, Kim, & Lim, 1994) and may be suspicious of persuaders’ intentions (Martin & Strong, 2016). The target audience of the advertisement is women, for the narrator directly talks to them throughout the advertisement by saying: “Hello ladies. How are you?” This message is targeting women that are old enough to drive and have enough money to go to the store and go shopping (meaning that it is not directing it’s marketing towards teenage girls and younger). The video has the intent of making women want to buy Old Spice for their significant other, out of the fact that it will make them smell like a true man. With this being said, it becomes evident that the targeted audience is women that are in relationships. Even though Old Spice is typically a “male” defined product, the advertisements are directed towards women, for studies have shown that women tend to shop more than men, hinting that they are more likely to buy Old Spice for their boyfriends than their boyfriends are to buy it for themselves (First Insight, 2018). Because the advertisement is directed towards females, it may seem reasonable to use a female actress to address the viewer instead of the male actor in the video, however, gender differences and persuasion have a different theory. “Men are more successful than women in their attempts to persuade others,” (Carli, 20014) which is why it makes sense to use a male actor in this video. Furthermore, this video utilizes the cross-sex effect, which discusses how people are “more easily influenced by members of the opposite sex than by members of the same sex,” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 110). Additionally, “this effect may be stronger for males persuading females than for females persuading males” (Ward et al., 1985), only augmenting why the use of a male model in this instance was so effective. The female target audience is more likely to be persuaded by an attractive male actor than a female actress. Due to this brilliant strategy and the reasons priorly listed, Old Spice has created a commercial that is both effective and memorable.
Gain-Framed Messages & Statistical Proof
This is a poster by Truth Initiative, a nonprofit public health organization committed to making tobacco a thing of the past (https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/quitting-smoking-vaping/what-you-need-know-quit-smoking). This poster was made in November of 2018, and was posted to Truth Initiative‘s website and social media accounts. Even though this advertisement was released nearly two years ago, it still proves relevant, for smoking continues to be present in today’s society. This persuasive message utilizes numerous concepts and theories from chapter nine, with one being it’s use of gain-framed messages. The poster details all of the health benefits you gain when you quit smoking, stating that after twenty minutes your heart and blood pressure decrease, after two to three weeks your circulation and lung functionality improve, after one year your risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack is reduced, and so on. These are gain-framed messages, for they establish the message to focus on the positive outcome (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 213). Gain-framed messages are more persuasive towards future-minded people and low sensation seekers, for these types of individuals like to act based on rationale rather than impulse. Not only does this advertisement use gain-framed messages, but it also utilizes evidence. The message does not merely state that by quitting smoking people automatically become healthier, but rather, it explains how people become healthier by quitting smoking. It explains each individual benefit people receive, including a decreased “risk of mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder cancer” and how the “risk of dying from lung cancer is 50% less likely.” This is significant, for “evidence facilitates persuasion” and that as long “as the evidence is relevant to the claim being made, evidence is almost always persuasive” (Reinard, 1988). Because this poster has myriad pieces of evidence, it is more persuasive and effective than if it only had general assumptions. Furthermore, statistical proof “is more effective than using anecdotal or narrative proof” (Allen & Preiss, 1997; Kim et al., 2012). This poster displays statistical proof by saying “the risk of dying from lung cancer is 50% less likely” and “70% of smokers say they want to quit,” illuminating how it’s use of evidence is only aiding the value and efficacy of the argument. The target audience of the advertisement is people who smoke, for when they see this advertisement, they will be reminded of all of the health benefits they could have just by quitting smoking. To further specify the target audience, this poster focuses on individuals that are low sensation seekers, as previously mentioned. The use of gain-framed messages and statistical proof are both elements that enhance the quality of this poster and make it persuasive toward its intended audience.
The following is a YouTube video that shows a defense opening in a criminal case (https://youtu.be/vMN5XRNgSlc). In this video, a woman by the name of Lauren Fernandez talks about how her client is not guilty of murder. Her client is being accused of murdering a man by the name of Tom Lawson, however, she claims that Tom Lawson was drunk and how he drowned in the swimming pool after slipping rather than being maliciously hit into the pool. This defense opening utilizes many concepts discussed in chapter nine, one being climax order. At the beginning of her speech, she mentions how her client is not guilty and then proceeds to explain every occurrence that happened the night of the party where Tom Lawson died. Throughout the duration of her case, she builds up to her strongest arguments which are that the government chose which arguments to present to the jury and left out valuable information that helps prove her client’s innocence. Climax order is when strong arguments come last, which is why the lawyer’s case is said to follow this structure (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 218). Using such an order is effective in this video, for having the strongest arguments at the end of a speech seems “to work better than sandwiching strong arguments in the middle of a speech” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 218). Furthermore, this video utilizes the inoculation theory, which is when you warn others that a challenging argument is approaching and you expose them to weak doses of the approaching arguments and show how such arguments might be refuted (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 221). This is witnessed various times in the video, such as when Lauren Fernandez states: “the government is going to get up here today and try to serve you with what they would consider a healthy helping of evidence that proves their case. But in reality, they’re serving you nothing but table scraps. There is more to that evidence than the mere morsels they will focus on. And facts do not cease to exist simply because they are ignored.” This acts as a perfect example of the inoculation theory, for the lawyer warns the jury that the government is going to challenge her argument and she exposes the jury to what their argument is going to be and why hers is stronger (“the government is intentionally leaving out evidence”). This relates to forewarning, which refers to warning the audience that a subsequent message is going to attempt to change their attitudes (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 225). In the video, Lauren Fernandez warns the jury that “detective Warthom is going to take the stand right there today and you will hear how the detective decided from the getgo that Shawn Applebee [her client] was guilty and chose the main course of the investigation accordingly.” This is effective, for it warns the jury that a counterargument is going to be made, which in turn, makes the jury more resistant to the persuasion found in the counterargument (Benoit, 1988). Finally, this video employs a two-sided message, for it presents arguments “in favor of one proposition and considers opposing arguments as well” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 224). In the video, the lawyer states how “Shawn Applebee’s prints were left on Tom Lawson’s computer, but that the government chose to ignore that Shawn Applebee was the second in command at DigiWorks.” This is extremely persuasive, for when the next lawyers talk about that piece of evidence, the jury will have already heard about it and will be less influenced by it the second time around (strengthening Lauren Fernandez’s argument). “Speakers boosted their credibility when they presented two-sided messages,” indicating how Lauren Fernandez is only helping her case by presenting and refuting her opponent’s claims. Due to this and all of the reasons priorly listed, this video acts as a perfect example of the effectiveness of climax order, inoculation theory, forewarning, and two-sided messages.
This is a clip from the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (https://youtu.be/sZOfrwF7wHU). In the clip, Ryan Gosling’s character, Jacob, is flirting with Emma Stone’s character, Hannah, after meeting her at a bar. Gosling’s character utilizes the various aspects of Kinesics in order appeal to Emma Stone’s character. Kinesics refers to the study of eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and body movement and posture (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 186). The following clip utilizes each aspect of Kinesics, with the most prominent being eye contact. From the moment Gosling’s character approaches the table Stone and her friend are sitting at, he makes direct eye contact with Stone in an attempt to sway her to allow him to buy her a drink. Eye contact acts as an effective tactic in this instance, for “gazing at listeners produce[s] more compliance than averting gaze” (Segrin, 1993). Furthermore, this tactic is extremely successful in the given situation due to the fact that Emma Stone is a female. “People, especially females, [are] less likely to comply when persuaders quickly avert their glance than when they maintain eye contact,” (Guéguen & Jacob, 2002). Another element of Kinesics that Gosling adopts is facial expressions. When talking to Stone’s character, Gosling is constantly smiling at her–with both his mouth and with his eyes. Multiple studies have found that by “smiling, waitresses earn more tips” (Tidd & Lockard, 2004), “therapists are judged to be warmer and more competent” (Leathers, 1997), and “job interviewees create positive impressions of themselves” (Washburn & Hackel, 1973). These studies prove that overall, smiling acts as an effective method in persuading others and getting them to like you, which is why such a technique works perfectly for Gosling’s character. However, “when smiles appear quickly, the smiling person is perceived as less trustworthy and attractive than when the smiles have a slower onset,” (Krumhuber, Manstead, & Kappas, 2007). In the snippet, Gosling’s character does not smile rapidly and then resort to a blank stare, but rather, he adopts the method previously stated and smiles gradually and numerous times throughout the duration of the conversation. On top of eye contact and facial expressions, Gosling also utilizes body language, and more specifically, illustrators. Illustrators accompany speech and are used to emphasize or repeat what is being said (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 190). When Gosling is talking to Stone, he tells her that he cannot take his eyes off of her. While saying the line, he uses an illustrator where he moves his hand from his eyes and points to her, emphasizing how his eyes are solely on her and no one else. This is significant, for the employing illustrators “increases a speaker’s persuasiveness” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 190). Because Gosling’s character adopts every element of Kinesics, he comes off as very persuasive and convincing. Aside from Kinesics, Gosling also adapts artifacts, which consist of the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the furniture we own, and other physical objects (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 195). Cues such as clothing, grooming, and cosmetics “influence judgments about credibility [and] attractiveness” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 196). Because such aspects are so influential, it makes sense that Gosling’s appearance in the movie would only add to his persuasiveness. In the scene, Gosling is wearing a well-fitting suit, has combed hair, and a maintained beard, which makes him come across as put together and even rich. By coming off in such a way, he becomes way more influential, for he looks more trustworthy than someone with messy hair and clothes with holes in them. Due to this and the reasons priorly listed, it becomes evident just how important and plausible such concepts are.
Haptics, Proxemics, & The Expectancy Violations Theory
This is a video uploaded to Ellen DeGeneres’ YouTube channel where popular musician Billie Eilish goes undercover and surprises her fans (https://youtu.be/9QrlDWKP6lg). In this video, Billie Eilish and her fans utilize various concepts and theories of chapter eight, including Haptics. Haptics is defined as touch between two or more individuals (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 191). After revealing that Billie Eilish has been listening to her fan’s reactions the whole time, she instantly hugs her fans. “People who touch create more favorable impressions of themselves” (Hornick, 1992). With this in mind, it because apparent that Billie Eilish was so hands-on with her fans (by hugging them, holding hands with them, and linking arms with them) so that they could form more favorable impressions of her. Although Billie does not need to persuade her fans (for they already follow her and like her), she does want to create a fond memory of herself, which is why physical touch is so prominent and important in their encounter. If Billie had not physically interacted with her fans, she would have gave off the impression that she thinks she is better than them/too good for them. Furthermore, the YouTube video embeds proxemics, which is the study of “how we use space to communicate” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 192), and more precisely, the chapter talks about personal space, which “refers to what might be considered an invisible bubble that surrounds us” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 192). Because Billie Eilish nor her fans distanced themselves from each other, they disregarded each other’s personal space, which can be beneficial: “violating a person’s space may be more persuasive” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 193). This is due to the fact that people stand closer to people they like (Argyle, 1988). Furthermore, the expectancy violations theory claims that “we all have expectations about how close other people should stand to us” and when people violate those expectations and stand too close to others, it is deemed as a “pleasant surprise” in the case that both parties are interested in the other (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 193). This is demonstrated in the video, for Billie Eilish loves her fans and her fans love her, which is why both parties enjoy touching and hugging one another so much. This, in turn, makes Billie seem more honest and down-to-earth to her fans, and also makes Billie have a greater liking towards this group of fans. It becomes evident of the important role haptics, proxemics, and the expectancy violations theory play in forming more positive encounters between individuals.
Physical Appearance, Body Types, Facial Appearance, & Hair
This is a Calvin Klein advertisement that took place during the #MyCalvins campaign (https://zoewalkerblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/portrait-or-advertisement-semiotic-analysis/). This poster was disseminated in February of 2017 through various means, including billboards, magazine inserts, and website exposure. Though this message was released three years ago, it is still relevant today, for society’s beauty standards and social constructs have not changed over the years. Unfortunately, thinner women are still considered more appealing, toned men are still deemed more attractive, and being white is still issued as more socially acceptable. This relates to the concept of physical appearance, for models that fit society’s beauty standards are said to be more persuasive than those who do not. According to a study conducted by Palmer and Peterson (2016), “attractive people are more likely than unattractive people to try persuading others” and attractive individuals are perceived as “more persuasive than unattractive people” (Palmer & Peterson, 2016). With this in mind, it makes sense that Calvin Klein used conventionally attractive models, for they are more likely to sell the brand’s products than people who do not fit society’s standards. The advertisement depicts a man with a mesomorph body shape, meaning he is muscular and in-shape (Gass & Seiter, 2018, 199). Mesomorphs tend to be seen as more strong and adventurous in comparison to other body types, which is why using a male model with such a body type is effective, for he ignites the idea that by wearing Calvin Klein, you will be seen as more manly/attractive to female counterparts. Furthermore, the advertisement depicts a female model with an ectomorph body shape, meaning she is thin (Gass & Seiter, 2018, 199). This is effective, for studies have shown that ectomorphs are seen as more attractive. Because many will find the model in the poster conventionally attractive, they will begin to associate Calvin Klein with attractiveness, sparking millions of people to buy their products in order to appear more good-looking in society. Furthermore, the models in the poster not only have body types that are seen as more attractive, but their facial appearance is considered more appealing, as well. Both models have wide cheekbones, narrow cheeks, noses that are not too long or too short, and eyes that are not too far apart or too close together. Such facial features are “perceived as more attractive” (Berry & McArthur, 1986). This is significant, for the models in the poster have stunning bodies and faces, making Calvin Klein quickly become associated with attractiveness. Now, people will want to buy Calvin Klein because they believe that by wearing their undergarments and clothing items, they will be seen as more attractive in society, just as the models in the poster are seen. With this in mind, this advertisement appeals to high-self monitors, for high-self monitors are more influenced by “image-based” advertising (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 114). Finally, the models in the poster both have great hair, which only adds to their attractiveness. Blonde females are seen as more attractive than brunettes or women with different colored hair (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 201). Then, by having a blonde female model in the advertisement, it only adds to the notion that Calvin Klein will make you more attractive. Furthermore, “researchers found that clean-shaven men were more persuasive in endorsing products related to attractiveness (i.e., underwear)” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 201). With this in mind, it makes sense that Calvin Klein would use a clean-shaven male model to promote the brand (which is known for their underwear and undergarments). It becomes apparent that this advertisement targets both male and female individuals that want to appear as more attractive or appealing in society. Because the models in the poster are so good-looking, people will associate Calvin Klein with an increased appearance. Furthermore, this advertisement targets middle to upper-class, white individuals between the ages of twenty to their early thirties. When choosing a target audience, brands usually utilize models that are in the target group they want to attract. With this in mind, by having white models that appear to be in their mid-twenties, it becomes apparent that such a demographic is their target audience. Due to this tactic and all of the reasons priorly listed, it becomes evident how powerful models and their physical appearances are in selling products/creating a brand image.
This is an up-close image of a Louis Vuitton bag (https://handbag.yournextshoes.com/fake-louis-vuitton/). The brand’s logo is very visible and is utilized on the bag countless times. This relates to chapter seven’s concept of symbols and how they are used to represent something, ranging from people, to companies, to even things as simple as good and bad, and stop and go. A symbol “is something that represents something else” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 163). In this case, the symbol Louis Vuitton utilizes on their products and advertisements represents high-quality and luxury. When people walk around with items that have the Louis Vuitton symbol on them, people immediately consider that person rich and wealthy, for Louis Vuitton is known to be a luxury brand. Luis Vuitton’s products are extremely expensive and can range anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to even tens of thousands of dollars, indicating how the company has quickly become associated with opulence and high-class fashion. This symbol has given the brand a very distinct connotative meaning. A connotative word “refers to the thoughts and emotions associated with a word” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 164). As previously stated, Louis Vuitton is associated with high prices and upper-class individuals, indicating that it’s connotative meaning would be that of affluence and luxury. The moment people see this symbol, they will have a distinct thought or emotion associated to this, and although Louis Vuitton may be predominately associated with opulence, some people may see the symbol and company as affordable. Upper-class individuals will understand that Luis Vuitton is a luxury brand, but will not hold it to the same level of prestige as lower-class individuals will. This is because “the meanings of words are subjective” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 164). However, what is not subjective is the denotative meaning of the Louis Vuitton symbol. A denotative meaning is “a word’s direct, explicit dictionary definition” (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 163). Although Luis Vuitton is connoted to be a boujee, luxury brand, it’s denotative definition would be something along the lines of: “Louis Vuitton is a French fashion house and retail company founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton.” Louis Vuitton uses it’s symbol on its items as a form of peripheral cues, for people are not mentally engaging with the brand’s symbol when they see it, but rather are merely seeing it and associating it with the brand and the brand’s quality (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 43). This is significant, for people will see just how many upper-class individuals own Louis Vuitton (from seeing the Louis Vuitton symbol everywhere) and will consequently process Louis Vuitton to be a luxury, high-end brand.
Ultimate Terms & The Communication Accommodation Theory in Politics
This is a video campaign for Joe Biden. In the video, Biden and his team list various reasons why Biden should be elected for president of the United States in the upcoming election. Some of the reasons touch upon his past successes he made with Barack Obama and his future goals for unity and education (https://youtu.be/yVrmpp0unPY). This video was released on August 20th, 2019 through numerous outlets, including YouTube, commercial placement, and other social media sites, such as Twitter and Instagram. This advertisement is still relevant today, for the 2020 presidential elections have not occurred yet, meaning that voters will most likely watch this video to see if their views align with those of Biden. This video message uses numerous concepts and theories from chapter seven, one being its use of ultimate terms. Ultimate terms come in three forms: god terms, devil terms, and charismatic terms. God terms are words that carry great blessing, devil terms are words associated with the absolutely abhorrent, and charismatic terms are powerful (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 164). In this commercial, Biden mainly utilizes devil terms when he talks about Donald Trump, whose views he does not agree with. In the video, he calls Donald Trump a “threat” and continues by naming him as an “erratic, vicious, bullying president.” Words such as “threat,” “erratic,” “vicious,” and “bully” are considered devil terms, for they represent “what is evil or detestable to a culture” (Hart, 1997). However, in the context of this video, these devil terms are extremely persuasive, for they paint Donald Trump (Joe Biden’s opponent) to appear as an enemy to the American people. Not only does Biden use devil terms, but he also uses charismatic terms when describing himself. In the video, he classifies himself as the definition of “strong, steady, stable leadership,” which are all words that fall under the category of charismatic terms. These words make Biden appear powerful, for it infers that he has the stamina and capability to strengthen America in terms of unity and advancements. Not only does this persuasive video display ultimate terms, but it also touches upon the communication accommodation theory. The communication accommodation theory argues that “when we communicate with others we adjust our style of speaking to their style in order to gain approval” (Giles & Wiemann, 1987; Street & Giles, 1982). In the video, it is clear that Biden is talking and seeking approval from Democrats, and more specifically Democrats that voted for and liked Obama. Because he is trying to gain their approval, he references his work with Obama countless times, including when he says “for eight years, president Barack Obama and vice-president Joe Biden were an administration America could be proud of.” This signifies how the narrator tailored his speaking style to directly appeal to Obama supporters. Furthermore, Biden is directly targeting and trying to attract avid Trump-haters. The video states that trump is an “erratic, vicious, bullying president,” which is significant for people who also dislike Trump and share similar opinions will now think more highly of Biden for they can relate to him more. This emphasizes how important and persuasive the communication accommodation theory is, especially when it comes down to political campaigns.
Language Expectancy Theory & Powerless Language
This is a video advertisement by “Not Ever,” a rape crisis organization in Scotland. This video tackles women-blaming attitudes to rape and illuminates how “nobody asks to be raped. Ever” (https://youtu.be/h95-IL3C-Z8). The “Not Ever” campaign was initially released in June of 2010 during Brazil’s World Cup match. It was promoted through televised events and programs for nine weeks and then was uploaded to the official YouTube channel for “Not Ever,” and over the years has amassed over 800,000 views. Though this video campaign was released in 2010, it is still relevant today. Rape is unfortunately just as present today as it was ten years ago and victims are still unjustly blamed for dressing provocatively, being drunk or flirting with men. This video emphasizes how rape is never okay, regardless of the circumstances, hinting that this commercial has a very crucial message that will continue to be vital for countless years to come. This campaign relates to the language expectancy theory. The language expectancy theory “assumes that we have expectations about what types of language are normal to use when trying to persuade other people” and states that “we may not think it is normal to use intense words” (Burgoon & Siegel, 2004). This video message does use intense words, such as rape, which may make the video come across as more persuasive, according to the theory. When “persuaders violate our expectations concerning normal language, those violations can either help or hurt the effectiveness of the persuasive message,” and in this case they help, for it is coming from a highly credible source (a rape crisis organization) (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 176). When highly credible sources surprise us with intense language, it causes people to see the advertisement as more persuasive, which is why this campaign is so effective. Furthermore, the advertisement takes on a clear and direct tone. It does not suggest the idea that rape is bad and that people don’t want to be raped, but rather it blatantly states that “no one asks to be raped. Ever.” The concise and direct statements give the video an assertive tone, which is impactful for it shows that there is and should not be any hesitation when it comes to sensitive topics such as rape. Rape is never okay. Because of this tone, the video message does not display powerless language. Powerless language occurs when people hesitate, use hedges, disclaimers, and other speech mannerisms when they talk (Bradley, 1981; Erickson, Lind, Johnson, & O’Barr, 1978). If the video had utilized such language, it would have been a lot less effective. To have the narrator use phrases such as “sort of” or “um” or “like” would indicate that the narrator is unsure about their argument, which would be especially bad in a commercial about victim-blaming. With this in mind, it makes sense why the advertisement took on such a direct and serious note, for rape is not something to joke about and therefore should be addressed in a responsible manner.
Disney Cruise Line’s Use of Group Influence & Identification
This is a video advertisement for the Disney Cruise Line (https://youtu.be/KbQBiwgTpmQ). This advertisement depicts a happy family partaking in various activities on the Disney cruise, including watching musicals, eating luxurious dinners, going to the waterpark, and more. Disney Cruise Line created this advertisement. The message was disseminated on December 26th, 2018 and is still relevant. The time in which this advertisement was released is significant, for Christmas has just passed and the next holiday is New Years. At the beginning of every year, everyone plans to make the new year special and fun, so by seeing this advertisement at such a time, people are more willing to spend money on fun memories and activities than during other times of the year. Furthermore, the joyous activities that are presented in this advertisement will appeal to many people for years to come, hinting at how the advertisement is still relevant. The message was disseminated through YouTube and through television commercials. By having the video released on such platforms, the persuasive message can more easily reach it’s target audience (by appearing on Disney Channel and other kid networks, where both kids and their parents will see it). This advertisement relates to Kenneth Burke’s 1950 argument about human condition and group influence. The argument states that all humans want to feel as though they are part of a group and that they fit in, and that they are more inclined and persuaded by seeing large groups of people doing something (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 138). This persuasive message relates to this theory, for it depicts a family of four (and other families) having fun on the Disney Cruise Line ship. When other parents/families/kids see this message they will wish that they were apart of the group of people on the ship and will be more likely to buy Cruise Line tickets so they, too, can experience the fun-filled action. Furthermore, this persuasive message utilizes identification. Identification is when the recipient is able to connect with and identify with the persuader, which makes them more susceptible (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 141). This advertisement utilizes this concept by making each other characters in the commercial state something they like. For instance, the mom says that she likes the quietness and serenity of the cruise, which is something that many people will be able to identify with. This also is shown through the daughter, who says she likes the delicious food on the cruise, giving the viewer another outlet to identify with the commercial. The target audience of the advertisement is families, but more specifically moms. In the advertisement, it shows a family of four having fun on the Disney Cruise. By seeing other kids having fun, children will beg their parents to take them on the cruise so they can meet their favorite Disney characters and experience all of the Disney fun, too. Furthermore, the parents will see this advertisement and find it as a fun way to relax and have fun as a family. The reason this advertisement specifically targets moms is that there is one scene where the mom in the commercial is happily alone in a jacuzzi, relaxing. This will entice mothers, for they will want to find a way to both entertain their kids while also relaxing and having a good time themselves. Due to these reasons, this advertisement is extremely effective and successful.
Normative Influence, Morality as Motivated Resistance Hypothesis & Groupthink
This is a video uploaded by the popular YouTube channel Jubilee (https://youtu.be/4vBe_OeEbH8). This video takes a group of six white people and asks them various questions about race to see if “all white people think the same.” Every time a question is asked, each individual has to walk to a line. Each line represents a different stance on the topic, such as “Strongly Disagree,” “Disagree,” “Neutral,” “Agree,” and “Strongly Agree.” This video was uploaded on February 10th, 2019, meaning that it is fairly recent. This video relates to numerous theories and concepts from chapter six. One concept it relates to is normative influence. Normative influence is when we conform to the group in order to gain rewards (be liked) and avoid punishments (scorn) that are associated with agreement and disagreement (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 138). This video demonstrates this theory because there were numerous times throughout the video where individuals would walk to a line that represented their opinions on the topic and they would see everyone else walk to a line on the total opposite side of the room. Seeing this, the outlier would then move over a couple of lines to be closer to where the majority of white people stood. This shows that they were making decisions to avoid being scorned by the group (and YouTube viewers) rather than making decisions that accurately represented their own opinions. They made decisions so they could be liked and gain rewards, rather than sticking true to their core beliefs. “Normative influence is stronger when people respond in front of the group, while informational influence is strong when people respond in private” (Bond, 2005). Furthermore, this video also exhibits the Morality as Motivated Resistance Hypothesis, which states that people with stronger moral convictions are more resistant to majority influence than people with weaker convictions (Aramovich, Lytle, & Stika, 2012). There is one girl in the video that is an outlier in one of the questions: “Are you proud to be white?” She is proud to be white, while the other individuals in the video are not, for white people don’t have anything to be proud of. However, the outlier in the video is not swayed to move towards the rest of the group because she has high moral conviction. She states: “I’m okay with where I am even though I am getting backlash about being white,” showing that her pride in her culture and her morals are too strong to be swayed by the opinions of the group members.
Kylie Jenner’s Impact on Social Proof, Viral Marketing, & Product Reviews
This is a screenshot of an Instagram post Kylie Jenner uploaded to her Instagram account in 2016 (https://www.referralcandy.com/blog/influencer-marketing-examples/). In this picture, Kylie Jenner is posing next to SkinnyMintComproducts and is wearing an outfit that showcases her hourglass figure to hint that by buying and using SkinnyMintCom products, you, too, can look like Kylie Jenner. This Instagram post relates to social proof, for Kylie Jenner has millions of followers and is telling them to go on the 30-day SkinnyMintCom detox with her. According to the definition of social proof, this concept refers to the tendency to view behaviors as more appropriate or correct when a lot of other people are engaging in such behaviors (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 145). Because Kylie Jenner is engaging in a detox with her millions of followers, people will start to see this as a popular action and will consequently view it as more appropriate and correct. Social proof is closely related to viral marketing, which is the idea that consumers will see products being used or talked about by others and follow suit (Gass & Seiter, 2018, p. 145). As previously stated, millions of people will see Kylie Jenner using/talking about SkinnyMintCom and will want to try out the product, as well, in hopes that it makes their figure appear like Kylie Jenners. Not only does Kylie talk about the product, but in the Instagram caption, she writes: “Who’s joining me?”, inviting her millions of loyal followers to take action in joining her even if they weren’t fully swayed to do so beforehand. If Kylie Jenner isn’t enough to persuade people to try the detox, then according to Gass and Seiter, product reviews might do the trick. Product Reviews act like traditional word of mouth, yet have the capability of reaching far more customers (Book et al.,2015), indicating that if people read about thousands of others who think highly of the product, then they will be even more inclined to purchase it. Even though Kylie Jenner didn’t have a target audience in mind when posting the image, SkinnyMintCom did. Knowing that Kylie Jenner’s fan-base is majority teenagers to young adults (ages that typically have high amounts of body insecurity), the company wanted to reach those individuals and make them believe that purchasing their products and doing the tea detox will make them have a body type similar to Kylie Jenners. Due to this, this advertisement is extremely successful, for if there is anyone that can sway a mass amount of teenagers/young adults, it is Kylie Jenner.