Naked reproduces Stanley Milgram obedience experiments for WorkSafe Victoria

Naked has launched a campaign for WorkSafe Victoria based on the findings of controversial experiments from 1960’s which found that people are obedient to requests, even if those requests have dangerous consequences.

The psychological experiments of Stanley Milgram were reproduced in a simulated workplace by Naked – and 90% of people did as was asked of them.

Adam Ferrier, partner and psychologist at Naked said: “We wanted to draw attention to the fact that WorkSafe’s public awareness campaign is founded on real psychological insights. We are all susceptible to doing dangerous tasks, if asked to do so by our bosses. For anyone who supervises others the message is simple – don’t ask people to do dangerous things, as they just might do them”.

The campaign is being supported by PR and social media activity focused on WorkSafe Victoria’s Facebook page.


Agency, Naked Communications Melbourne
Matt Houltham, Managing Director
Adam Ferrier, Partner
Aliya Hasan, Project Lead
Yann Micuta, Design
Brooke Ward, Research Management

Video, Hub Productions
Peter Carstairs, Director
Tim Mummery, Editor
Simon Hoy, Producer

Web Development, Big Dog Creative
Ged Gaskell, Developer


  1. AdGrunt
    16 Apr 12
    9:14 am

  2. Nice.

  3. Jeepers
    16 Apr 12
    9:47 am

  4. So what’s this saying?

  5. Adam Joseph
    16 Apr 12
    9:52 am

  6. This reminds me a lot of the recent NAB “Honesty” experiments … perhaps we could call these the WorkSafe “Stupidity Experiments” …

    The WorkSafe “last orders” campaign has been around for a while now – as in this ‘Bakery’ ad from 2008:

    I’d be interested in the campaign effectiveness to date – Adam, could you elaborate?

  7. Adam Joseph
    16 Apr 12
    9:59 am

  8. Sorry, wrong video … I meant this campaign:

    Freudian slip about the bakery … must be breakfast time :-)

  9. Michael Faraday
    16 Apr 12
    3:02 pm

  10. Shocking.

  11. Les Posen
    16 Apr 12
    5:44 pm

  12. Hardly a reproduction of “infamous” obedience experiments; more along the lines of Robert Cialdini’s social influence and persuasion research.

    Is Ferrier claiming to be a registered psychologist? Or one with qualifications in academic psychology?

  13. Les Posen
    16 Apr 12
    5:51 pm

  14. Now this is what I call social persuasion! (Ad for TNT television drama)

  15. Logic
    16 Apr 12
    6:29 pm

  16. not really a replication of millgram but still more clever than most.

    needs more intense emotional stress.

  17. Adam Ferrier
    16 Apr 12
    7:26 pm

  18. Les Posen on your website are you claiming to be a real magician or just have magical presenting powers? :)

    The adaptation is much closer to Milgram than anything Caidini has done. It’s a study on obedience not influence. But please contact me directly 0413633344 if you want further explanation / understanding.


    Adam (registered psychologist)

  19. AdGrunt
    16 Apr 12
    8:26 pm

  20. Les,
    Didn’t Milgram came well before Cialdini?
    In fact I’m pretty sure Cialdini references Milgram’s ground-breaking work on compliance. This then leads onto various dilemmas such as the Nuremberg Defence, etc.

  21. Les Posen
    16 Apr 12
    9:35 pm

  22. Milgrom started his social psychology experiments in the 50s and also gave us the six degrees of separation concept.

    Cialdini followed a generation later, as did Barry Schwartz with experiments in social persuasion.

    The only thing this ad has in common with the milgram experiments is the faux use of electric shocks, and the influence of someone in uniform. There is no coercion involved in the ad, and no passerby unwilling to assist, unlike milgram. And the “victim” is in full view. In my mind, much more like Cialdini and his explanations of social persuasion.

    Adam: my presentation magic site also discusses persuasion and often refers to the neuroscience which helps understand how magic fools us. The same understanding can improve presentations and in my workshop I frequently refer to worksafe ads especially the dad missing from his daughters play. Power of emotion, music and storytelling to persuade and engage.

    Check ahrpra registration status because you’re not listed as registered in an all state search.

  23. Anon
    17 Apr 12
    1:09 am

  24. @Les, u sound like a real loser

  25. Les Posen
    17 Apr 12
    7:56 am

  26. @anon: ad hominem attack from anonymous poster. That’ll raise the level of discourse on mumbrella. Care to explain your “reasoning” behind your cloak of anonymity?

    And to return to the original ad, I’m still not sure the message it’s delivering and to whom?

  27. Andrew C
    25 Apr 12
    1:14 am

  28. @Les everyone:

    WRONG#1: Actually Stanley Milgram commenced his experiments from 1961, which is, um, the 60s – a different decade. ie not the 50s.

    WRONG#2: Milgram did NOT give us the six degrees concept, in fact he flatly refused to adopt the term or support it before, during, and after his Small World experiments. 6DOS was given to us by Frigyes Karinthy some four years before Milgram was even born. Even then Karinthy was only expanding on the popular theory established in and around Hungary for some time a priori. I’m sure you could contact John Guare, the on-record lead populist of the concept as he’s still alive and appears to be not 4 less 3 degrees separated from you Les, though I understand John, while being on email, is not Facebook.

    WRONG#3: Actually Robert Cialdini, a member of the same generation as Milgram (as only eleven years separate their births) did in fact follow with his experiments in social persuasion also in the 60s (ie in the same generation) as is easily evidenced by his official Publications. Furthermore, Robert Cialdini is more of what focussed academia might call an ethnographer or try-hard experimenter who chose (quite rightly in line with his strengths) to gage behaviours and write about theories more than conduct research. A bit like yourself Les only you would be much more in the “try-hard” basket.

    WRONG#4: Actually there were elements of clear, applied coercion in the Ad just above if you just want to scroll up a bit and press play (try headphones perhaps?) such as at 1:10 (Experimenter: “… he will get a small shock but don’t worry …). Also, Milgram did cover off with additional experimental conditions which varied the proximity and contact between Subject (shock administer) and Confederate (recipient/victim).

    WRONG#5: Actually your blog is not a ‘blog’ as such, but more an attempt at the creation of a mutual admiration society that masks your actual and realistic attainment of creating a self-admiration society. One thing people have taught me in writing and identity analysis is to beware of people who use the word “i” frequently when they write, as in fact it’s not needed at all. Les if we highlight the number of times you are compelled to use the word “i” in your writing, your website lights up like the Times Square Xmas tree with little “i” candles.

    WRONG#6: Your choosing to go after a reputable psychology exponent and popular figure in the global marketing industry simply because of your own issues, combined with the fact that obviously the external article creator here wrongly selected the adjective “reproduce” and that all you needed to was see and/or point that out, but you didn’t.

    Now, champion, did you have anything more unoriginal to contribute here or are we done and can you stop with the amount of egg you currently have on your cyberface?

    I’m ready to go with #7 through #28 of the Les Posen WRONG FILES….

  29. Les Posen
    25 Apr 12
    11:41 am

  30. @adamC: It’s Anzac Day – are you going to war with me in remembrance of something?

    Please follow Adam’s lead and treat correspondents here with some respect even if you disagree with them, and wish to provide corrections. I’m happy to receive them in the spirit of learning, and share with you, if you are in the spirit of sharing.

    Furthermore, I’m not going after Adam at all. Unlike your missives, there has been nothing I would call “personal” or ad hominem in correspondence with Adam. And no hyperbole like “lighting up Times Square” or “egg… on..cyberface.”

    The last time I commented about a Mumbrella piece by Adam is when he wrote about the outpouring of grief following Steve Jobs’ death last October. I critiqued his article, saying I expected a more nuanced piece from a consumer psychologist. But I believe I wrote in respectfully, although I could be wrong (#29 😉

  31. Les Posen
    26 Apr 12
    11:03 am

  32. Interesting piece in today’s Fairfax news re la Trobe university replicating milgrams work in the 1980s. Book written by one of the students involved as part of her training saying it has has life long effects.

    Shows the need to debrief after such adventures. Hoping naked communications team did so too, apart from having passers by sign consent forms for publication.

  33. AdGrunt
    26 Apr 12
    11:57 am

  34. Les,

    The depth of Milgram’s experiments is, unsurprisingly, somewhat greater than the demonstrative replication done here for campaign awareness purposes.

    You do appreciate the difference, I’m sure. In which case, don’t set up such godawful strawmen.

  35. Les Posen
    26 Apr 12
    1:19 pm

  36. Didn’t think I had.

    But if you want to see more comments juxtaposing milgram, obedience, and worksafe, suggest you visit http://aworkcovervictimsdiary......periments/