Advertising Principles - Evidence-based principles

The 2011 “Increase Diversity” Bake Sale

Persuasion Principle 3.6.1 says, “Provoke customers only when it attracts attention to a selling point.” In September 2011, a bake sale held at the University of California at Berkeley offered cupcakes at various prices depending on the customer’s race and gender. For example, white males were charged the most at $2.00, while Native American females were eligible to receive a free cupcake. The Berkeley College Republicans used this provocative act in response to a movement that requested the California legislature to repeal a constitutional amendment, which currently says that the state “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” The provocative demonstration attempted to provide an analogy of the University’s tuition plan to question whether such a system is fair. Protests against the bake sale also helped focus attention on the selling point. This provocative approach gained national publicity.

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