When you are shopping in a mall, what makes you want to buy the product? Practicability of that product? Nice appearance of that product? Good attitude of the salesperson? Usually, you will buy that product because it is useful to you. Sometimes, however, you were “persuaded” by the salespeople as you fell into their trap initially.


This kind of selling strategy can be referred to a social psychology concept, compliance, which can be defined as a change in behavior consistent with a communication source’s direct request (Cherry, K., 2013). In terms of this concept, one of the factor which easily put consumers into a trap is called reciprocity. This is the psychological strategy which mainly used by the salespeople. Under the reciprocity norm, it is assumed that if someone does something for others, others will do something in return (Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. 19th ed., 2010, p. 527). Imagine, we will usually not buy a cloth which cost you 1000 pounds. We might, however, probably consider if the salesperson said that he give you a 70% Discount. In this circumstance, consumers will usually experience a deep deliberation whether they should buy that products. This kind of selling skill is referred to door in the face technique, a situation in which people will often agree with the “smaller” request in comparison with the “big” one (Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. 19th ed., 2010, p. 527). Several studies support that people will usually accept moderate request than larger demand (Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M., 1977; Cialdini, R. B. et al., 1975; Guéguen, N., 2011).


Moreover, beside reciprocity, another variable which will also make consumers fell into the trap is called commitment. This factor make use of one selling skill, foot in the door technique, which can be referred to a situation that once people promise the moderate request, they will easily agree to a larger request further (Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. 19th ed., 2010, p. 528).


In summary, it is prevalent that we will always “psychologically defeated” by the salesperson. although we know the skills used by the salespeople, we will still fall into their trap easily. Thus, to become an astute consumer, we should take the practicability of that product into consideration rather than “psychologically” persuaded by the salespeople. 


Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1977). Attitude-behavior relations: A theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Psychological bulletin, 84(5), 888.


Cherry, K. (2013). Compliance – Psychology definition of the week. Retrieved 25 February 2014, from http://psychology.about.com/b/2013/04/12/compliance-psychology-definition-of-the-week.htm


Cialdini, R. B., Vincent, J. E., Lewis, S. K., Catalan, J., Wheeler, D., & Darby, B. L. (1975). Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of personality and Social Psychology, 31(2), 206.


Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. (19th ed). (2010). Psychology and Life. Boston: Pearson.


Guéguen, N., Jacob, C., & Meineri, S. (2011). Effects of the Door-in-the-Face technique on restaurant customers’ behavior. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(3), 759-761.


“Celebrity Effect” in advertisement

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Obviously, there’s a lot of advertisements used celebrities to promote the brand and product. As all of us expected, people might pay more attention or even buy the product rapidly after watching those kinds of advertisements. The rationale for this occurrence might mainly due to the physical attractiveness and reputation of those well-know persons (Rafique, M., 2012). However, this might not be the only reason. Maybe we could say that advertisers made use of the psychological concept to persuade the consumers to buy their product.


We could explain this kind of phenomenon in terms of elaboration likelihood model, which is a theory that defines how likely people will focus their cognitive process to read a message and they will then follow the central or peripheral routes to persuasion (Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. 19th ed., 2010, p. 525). According to this model, there are two kinds of routes that lead people to persuasion, which are central and peripheral routes. On one hand, central routes refer to a situation in which people consider the persuasive messages seriously in order to make the decision of their buying behaviour. On the contrary, peripheral routes means people don’t think about the advertising message deeply. Instead, they focus on the cursory cues in the circumstance. Therefore, advertisers make use of the people’s peripheral routes to persuasion. In other words, they recruit the celebrities take part in the product advertisement in order to let consumers do not take the products into deep consideration and just focus on their ‘idol’. This makes sense as we mentioned above that the physical appearance and the standing of the celebrities play an important role in the buyers consumption behaviour.


From the above, we can clearly see that using celebrities as a selling point is a very powerful way in advertising. Eventually, we might question about that,  “Do we really need that things? Or just celebrity effect?” 





Gerrig, R. J., Zimbardo, P. G. (19th ed). (2010). Psychology and Life. Boston: Pearson.


Rafique, M. (2012). Impact of Celebrity Advertisement on Customers’ Brand Perception and Purchase Intention. Asian Journal of Business and Management Sciences, 1(11), 53-67.


Which one do you want? Coke or Pepsi?


Most of us should enjoy having soft drink during meals.  Obviously, coke is one of the most prevalent beverage that we might choose. Now, imagine you are going to the supermarket or restaurant, which brand of coke that you will buy or order? Coca cola? Or Pepsi?  It seems usually people will choose Coca cola rather than Pepsi.  How was that?

Paracha, J. et al., (2012) carried out a study to investigate whether people will prefer coca cola or Pepsi.  As a result, among 400 participants, 259 of them possess a preference towards coca cola, whereas only 141 of them choose Pepsi. Beside showing  this difference, this study also displayed that most of the participants think taste is one of the important factor that make them choose their preference. Moreover, among both group of participants (Coca cola and Pepsi), most of them recognized price is also a vital reason for them to buy a drink. Beside taste and price, LyndseyEhgoetz (2013) also noticed that taste is not the only factor, but also way of marketing their brand. Accordingly, Coca-Cola has 75,149,476 followers on Facebook, while Pepsi just has 28,776,425. Social media is one of the most important way to establish the engagement with customers.  As Baer. J, (no date) highlighted, daily story feedback is one of the way that might lead you success in your business. He mentioned that “the more fans that click “like” and comment, the more likely your future updates are to be seen in their News Feed, dramatically increasing your actual Facebook audience” .  Lastly, advertisement is also important for leading a brand to success. Although both of them engaged in advertising in order to promote their own enterprise, Pepsi  made a serious mistake in their advertisement due to racism.



As a consumer, when we are considering whether we want to buy a drink, we will definitely take our own preference and its popularity into consideration. As we mentioned above, there is 75,149,476 followers on Facebook, which is much more than Pepsi. Therefore, people might prefer coca cola due to its reputation. However, it is important to note that even Coca cola has more followers, Tanner, K. (2013) noted that this may due to own perference. She mentioned that there is a study used blind people as participants to investigate whether Coca cola or Pepsi are better suited to people flavour. Although result indicated that there were more people prefer Pepsi, there are still a lot of people prefer Coca Cola nowadays. She used the term placebo effect to explain this phenomenon, where people might think they were drinking coca cola which make them recognize coke is better than Pepsi. Therefore, besides taste, price, ways of advertisement, and social media marketing, people own preference would still be a reason for them to choose coke rather than Pepsi.



Baer. J. (no date). 6 Critically Undervalued Social Media Success Metrics. Retrieved 12 February 2014, from http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-roi/6-critically-undervalued-social-media-success-metrics/

LyndseyEhgoetz (2013). Coca-Cola Vs Pepsi: The Difference Is More Than Just Flavour!. Retrieved 12 February 2014, from https://smbp.uwaterloo.ca/2013/11/coca-cola-vs-pepsi-the-difference-is-more-than-just-flavour/

Paracha, J., Munam, A., Waqas, M., Raza Khan, A., & Ahmad, S. (2012). Consumer Preference Coca Cola Versus Pepsi-Cola. Global Journal of Business & Management Research12(12).

Tanner, K. (2013). Brand Loyalty: Why do people think they prefer Coca-Cola?.  Retrieved 12 February, 2014, from http://www.hm-marketing.com/Blog/September-2012/Brand-loyalty-Why-do-people-think-they-prefer