Via Dan Ariely’s blog, a new study has found that “Relative visual saliency differences induce sizeable bias in consumer choice [pdf]”.
Why am I featuring a marketing study on this blog? Because they use candy as their stimuli! Here’s how it went down:
Scientists manipulated the visual saliency of different pairs of snack food items, including candies, by increasing the brightness of one of the photos of each pair.
When participants had only slight preferences, they tended to choose the product that had the brightest photo, even when they preferred it slightly less to the other available option. When their preferences were strong, however, they were less susceptible to the brightness manipulation.
Furthermore, when participants were distracted by having an additional task to perform, they were more easily manipulated by the differences in relative brightness. We are such chumps!
What can we learn from this study? Don’t multitask while shopping – if you’re distracted, you’re more vulnerable to marketing manipulations. And have strong choice preferences before you see your choices.
That’s why candy reviews blogs are so great! We can give you an idea of what to buy based on the actual candy rather than its packaging.