Dove: Attitudes and Attitudes change

Attitudes are influenced by personal experience and other source of information, and personality.

Altering consumer attitude is a key strategy for the marketers. Marketers has to create positive attitude in consumer mind in order to attract them in comparison with the competitors’ products. The below are the attitude change strategies:

1). Changing the consumer’s basic motivational function: 

the consumer attitudes towards a product or brand can be changed by making a particular need important. The approach which is used to change the motivation is functional approach. According to this approach, attitudes can be classified in terms of four functions:

  • Utilitarian Function: The utilitarian function is related to the basic principles of reward and punishment. We develop some attitudes towards products simply on the basis of whether these products provide pleasure or pain. Ads that stress straightforward product benefits appeal to the utilitarian function (Solomon, Bennett & Previte 2019).Consumer value a particular brand because of its utility function. When a consumer is having an experience of using a product in past, he will tend to have positive opinion about it. Therefore, the marketer can change the attitude of consumer by focusing on the utilitarian function which the consumers are not aware of. 
  • The ego-defensive Function: Ego-defensive function. Attitudes that are formed to protect the person, either from external threats or internal feelings, perform an ego-defensive function (Solomon, Bennett & Previte 2019). It is natural that most of the consumer wants to protect their self-images and they want to feel secure and safe about the product which they are going to buy. Many advertisements help the consumer to feel secure and confident by which the marketer tries to change the attitude by offering reassurance to the consumers self-concept.
  • The value – expressive function: Attitudes that perform a value-expressive function express the consumer’s central values or self-concept. Value-expressive attitudes are highly relevant to lifestyle analyses, which look at how consumers cultivate a cluster of activities, interests and opinions to express a particular social identity (Solomon, Bennett & Previte 2019). Attitudes are an expression or reflection of the consumer’s general values, lifestyles, and outlook. Thus, by knowing target consumers attitudes, marketers can better anticipate their values, lifestyles or outlook and can reflect these characteristics in their advertising and direct marketing efforts.
  • The Knowledge Function: Some attitudes are formed as the result of a need for order, structure or meaning. They provide mental shortcuts to help a person in an ambiguous situation, such as considering a new product for the first time or to save time (Solomon, Bennett & Previte 2019). Indeed, many products and brands positioning are attempted to satisfy the need to know and to improve consumer’s attitude toward the brand by emphasizing its advantages over competitive brands.
  • Combining Several Functions: The customers like or dislikes are different for different products and services. If three consumers are having positive attitudes towards Suave hair care products. However, one may be responding solely to the fact that the products work well (the utilitarian function); the second may have the inner confidence to agree with the point “when you know beautiful hair doesn’t have to cost a fortune”( an ego defensive function). The third consumer’s favorable attitudes might reflect the realization that brand has for many years stressed value (equal or better products for less) – the knowledge function.

2). Associating the product with an admired group or event:  

Attitudes are related, at least in part, to certain groups, social events or causes. It is possible to alter attitudes toward companies and their products, services and brands by pointing out their relationships to particular social groups, events, or causes.

Recent research into brand-because alliances have investigate the relationship between the “cause and the “sponsor”. For instance, one study found that while both the brand and the cause benefit from such alliances, a low familiar cause benefited more from this association with a positive brand than did a highly familiar cause.  This finding seems to indicate that it is likely to be a good idea for a sponsor to reveal to target consumers the reasoning behind their sponsorship, so that consumers know the sponsor’s motives rather than from their own potentially inaccurate or negative motives.

3). Resolving two conflicting attitudes: 

Attitude change strategies can sometimes resolve actual or potential conflict between two attitudes. Specifically, if consumers can be made to see that their negative attitude toward a product, a specific product, a specific brand or its attributes is really not in conflict with another attitude, they may be induced to change their evaluation of the brand.

4). Altering components of the multi attributes model: 

Multi attitude models have implications for attitude change strategies; specifically, they provide us with additional insights as to how to bring about attitude change:

  • Changing the relative evaluation of attributes: The overall market for many products categories is often set out so that different consumer segments are offered different brands with different features or benefits. For instance, within a product category such as dishwashing liquids, there are brands such as Dawn that stress potency and brands such as Dove that stress gentleness. These two brands of dishwashing liquids have historically appealed to different segments of the overall dishwashing liquid market.  Similarly, when it comes to coffee, or when it comes to headache remedies, there is the division between aspirin and acetaminophen. 

In general when a product category is naturally divided according to distinct product features or benefits that appeal to a particular segment of consumers, marketers usually have an opportunity to persuade consumers to “cross over”. 

  • Changing brand beliefs: A second cognitive oriented strategy for changing attitudes is changing beliefs or perceptions about the brand itself. Advertising helps us to find out what a particular product has “more” or is “better” or “best” in terms of some important product attribute. As a variation on this theme of “more” ads for Palmolive dishwashing gentleness by suggesting that it be used for hand washing of fine clothing items. 

Within the context of brand beliefs, there are forces working to stop or show down attitude change. For instance, consumers frequently resist evidence that challenges a strongly held attitude or belief and tent to interpret any ambiguous information in ways that reinforce their preexisting attitudes. 

  • Adding an Attitude:  This can be accomplished either by adding an attribute that previously has been ignored or one that represents an improvement or technological innovation.

The first route, adding a previously ignored attribute, can be illustrated by the point that yogurt has more potassium than a banana. For consumers interested in increasing their intake of potassium, the comparison of yogurt and bananas has the power of enhancing their attitudes toward yogurt. 

The second route of adding an attribute that reflects an actual product change or technological innovation is easier to accomplish than stressing a previously ignored attribute. 

Sometimes eliminating a characteristic or feature has the same enhancing outcome as adding a characteristic of attribute. For instance, a number of skin care or deodorant manufacturers offer versions of their products that are unscented. 

  • Changing the overall brand rating: Another strategy consists of attempting to alter consumer’s overall assessment of the brand directly, without attempting to improve or change their evaluation of any single brand attribute. Such a strategy frequently relies on some form of global statement that “this is the largest selling brand” or “the one all others try to initiate” or a similar claim that sets the brand apart from all its competitors.

Psychologist Daniel Katz developed the functional theory of attitudes to explain how attitudes facilitate social behavior.According to this pragmatic approach, attitudes exist because they serve some function for the person. That is, they are determined by a person’s motives. Consumers who expect that they will need to deal with similar situations at a future time will be more likely to start forming attitudes in anticipation of this event.Two people can each have an attitude towards the same object for very different reasons. As a result it can be helpful for marketers to know why an attitude is held before attempting to change that attitude (Solomon, Bennett & Previte 2019). 

If consumers are loyal because of a utilitarian function, marketers should focus on aspects such as brand features or ease of use. To meet the knowledge function, marketers need to emphasize convenience and help consumers reduce effort (Solomon, Bennett & Previte 2019). 

The ego-defensive function of loyalty was related to emotional loyalty(affective commitment to a brand consisting of positive feelings about and attachment to purchasing a brand on the next purchase occasion). This means that if marketing managers want to create emotional loyalty within their consumers, they need to be aware of how the brand meets the ego needs of consumers (Solomon, Bennett & Previte 2019). 

According to O’Shaughnessy (2004), the primary aim of advertising is to change attitudes through persuasion, to motivate people into taking action by influencing desires and beliefs. All the same, Sean Brierley (2002) strongly sustains that modern advertising changed from its traditional form into a ‘much wider’ definition that includes ‘all paid-for publicity’. The reasons of this change lays in the need of modern companies to ‘stimulate demand’. In both cases, advertisers are using certain ‘appeals’ to gain over attention and to persuade their target, including the use of product specifications/ features to psychological Freudian techniques (Florentina 2019).

A new trend emerged in the 1960s regarding how these models should look: “thin is in.” This look, which encapsulates how a society defines what is beautiful, has continued through the 21st century (Dillavou 2009). 

Unilever implemented significant changes to its Dove promotional strategies, rolling out a new web site, ad campaign, and overall image in 2004 in the United Kingdom and in 2005 in the United States. Called the Campaign for Real Beauty, the advertisements made use of non-traditional models as the new faces of Dove (Dillavou 2009). 

The results of ‘real beauty ‘showed that regardless of age, race, education level, or other demographic variables, women felt traditional models in beauty product advertisements were unrealistic; that is, their skin was often flawless, their bodies “unattainable,” and their hair and makeup perfect. Many said advertisements were hard to ignore and continued to serve as a reminder that their own bodies, skin, and hair were nowhere near the standard depicted (Dillavou 2009). 

Their reactions were very positive, however, to ads that featured what may be considered as non-traditional models. Many could relate to the body types, ages, and diversity featured in ads that constitute the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Such advertisements influenced buying behavior more and elicited more attention than advertisements featuring traditional-looking models. Most also said they identify with non- traditional models much better than traditional models (Dillavou 2009). 

When psychologist and author Susan Orbach was hired to work for Ogilvy & Mather, the advertising agency of Unilever, the company that makes Dove personal care products, she observed that just 30 minutes of looking at a magazine can seriously lower a youngster’s esteem (Cullen, 2006). 


Brierley, S 2001, The Advertising Handbook,London: Routledge.

Cullen, M 2006, ‘Dove’s flight of fancy’, Journal of Marketing, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 26-27.

Dillavou, LJ 2009, ‘Cognitive responses, attitudes, and product involvement of female consumers to traditional and non-traditional models in beauty advertising’, PhD thesis, Faculty of business, Iowa State University.

O’Shaughnessy, J & Nicholas JO 2004, Persuasion in Advertising.London: Routledge.

Solomon, MR, Bennett, RR & Previte, J 2019, Consumer Behavior, Australia Group, Sydney. 

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