Ditch the Basket for the Cart

A walk down the aisle of a supermarket is nothing less than going up and down an emotional roller coaster. The highs of looking at a mouth-watering chocolate cake with the lows of the price tag that comes with it.  The tug of war between the wants (junk, junk and more junk) and needs (healthy stuff) linger till I stride out of the store with bushels of unjustified items. So what do I do to reduce this pleasure vs. pain saga???? I pick up a basket!!! It not only makes me feel like I’ll shop more responsibly (well, at least I thought so) but also gives me the feel of a teeny workout.

Indeed, there’s a difference between choosing a cart and a basket: One helps you make healthier choices, while the other can lead you to stock up on vices. A  wild  guess of the wiser bet? “The basket” seems like an obvious response. Surprise Surprise!!!  A recent study published in the Journal of Marketing Research  found using a cart is better for your health than using a basket.

According to researchers, using a basket, “Leads to a preference for vices over virtues and for smaller, earlier rewards over larger, later monetary rewards. When you flex your arm toward you (as you would when putting something in a basket), you think of it as a treat, whereas when you flex your arm away from you (as you do when putting something in a cart), it serves a less personal purpose. It’s a process they call embodied myopia.

The researchers demonstrated that arm flexor contraction makes individuals more likely to choose immediately pleasing options.” Also the tension and strain of carrying a basket is likely to induce the shopper to seek immediate gratification and make unhealthy, wasteful purchases.

I find this downright backwards. I always thought big carts leave more room for oodles of junk food, while tiny baskets to lug around only have enough space for the healthy essentials. But apparently the research proves me all wrong. Researchers found shoppers were three times as likely to choose unhealthy items over healthy ones if they carried a basket And for most participants in the study, the immediately pleasing option they chose was chocolate. (Although I am still recovering from the anguish of being tricked by the petite, innocent looking basket, I absolutely love the thought of rewarding myself with a bar of chocolate, for every basket I carry :P)

Now the point of me choosing this topic for the blog is not to convince all my dear readers to pick up a cart for two items. That’s definitely going to do no good to your pockets or your health. But maybe this piece of information will help you become more aware, as consumers, of what you’re putting in your basket and why.

Another interesting thing to ponder upon – If our mind and body are connected in a way, that the impulse buying of unhealthy snacks is related to instant gratification, due to the strain caused, then can this be correlated to the fact that marketers selling junk food are more likely to do better in places where people are involved in some kind of physical activity???  Like a desert shop or supermarket close to a gym a fastfood joint outside a nightclub, close to railway stations???  Logically may not seem feasible, but isn’t consumer psychology all about defying all logic?????


Want A Women To Remember ?????

Now for all the men out there who thought women were just talkers and they don’t listen and remember anything you say here is a piece of advice try modulating your voice to a deeper voice . You think I am joking?????  You bet not…. According to a recent study by David Smith and colleagues from the University of Aberdeen in the UK a males voice is important for both mate choice and the accuracy of women’s memory.

In a series of two experiments, Smith and colleagues show that “memory in women is sensitive to male voice pitch, a cue important for mate choice because it can indicate genetic quality as well as signal behavioral traits undesirable in a long-term partner.”.

Wow that makes me think the deeper we dwell into the world of female psychology the more complicated or should I say the more basic it gets. Think about it centuries of evolution and innovation and the animal instincts in human kicks in someway or the others.  Now let me explain that bit. Remember those episodes of National Geography or Discovery showing how mating calls of men are important to attract the potential mate???

Well to get back to the experiments. In the first experiment, 45 women were initially shown an image of a single object while listening to the name of the object spoken either by a high or low pitch male or female manipulated voice. They were then shown two similar but not identical versions of the object and asked to identify the one they had seen earlier. The women were also asked which voice they preferred.


In the second experiment, as well as manipulated voices, the researchers used real male and female voices to test how 46 new women rated the voices and how they scored on object memory.In both cases, the authors found that women had a strong preference for the low pitch male voice and remembered objects more accurately when they have been introduced by the deep male voice. the significant imapct was not seen in men.

Now I know I am here to talk about consumer psychology and not animal instants. So how is this related to the world of marketing?

From the study Smith concluded: “that women’s memory is enhanced with lower pitch male voices, compared with the less attractive raised pitch male voices. The two experiments indicate for the first time that signals from the opposite-sex affect the accuracy of women’s memory.” Fascinating isn’t it Fancy hearing a man convincing you to buy a Domestos cleaner or a Loreal face wash???

This mean that an advert of a product that uses a low pitch male voice over is remembered more by women than an advert that uses a female voice over? Looking at it from another perspective could a male salesmen be better at selling high involvement products to women The use of females in adverts for men has been a prominent tool for marketers to grab male attention. With this study there could there be a role reversal. Maybe that’s the reason why Mr Muscle bought is a male figure with a low pitch to convince the ladies. What do you think??? Does the gender difference in voice over really have an impact on memory???





Fine the Fine Print

I started off this week’s blog research with a couple of topics in mind, as I was researching on them, I came across an advert that made me change my topic to something that we are forced to ignore “The FINE Print or the MOUSE print” Have a look at this Press Ad

Thicker hair in a week  by just using a shampoo  wow. Now that’s a revolution in shampoo. Oh wait a minute maybe I missed something. The * after  “In one week”.   Oh you can’t see it? Yeah. It is pretty small. But it is there and when you find the corresponding * with the info it reads “*versus unwashed hair”

Yes its true if you use Head and Shoulders your hair will look thicker than your unwashed hair!!!!!

Is that what they are trying to sell??? Is this what we want to buy? Just think about it with thousands of products shouting their presence advertisers are now resorting to such fine prints adverts to convince the consumers about their products???

According to the Advertising journal “The use of fine print and, more generally, advertising disclaimers, has also been the subject of numerous academic research efforts, including several content analyses Most of the research has been critical of that advertising practice, suggesting that viewers are unlikely to be able to read the messages because of the small print size and the brevity of their appearance or because the language used is incomprehensible to young audiences. Given that fine print statements often relate to a major selling point presented in an ad, critics point out that the communication value of an ad may be severely compromised when fine print disclosures are used (King 1990)”. Richards (1990, p. 83) suggests that “any ad that implies one claim and disclaims it elsewhere is potentially deceptive if consumers can have their attention diverted away from the disclaimer.”

The world is full of fine print. Fine print to hide information, fine print to misguide, fine print to emotionally rationalize. Fine print by- financial institutions, banks, cars manufacturers, beauty products, food industry, there’s no one to be spared. If the point of the information is to provide information to the consumers then why not give them out in a way that the consumers understand? Desite consumer complains there has been no law clearly defining the terms and the fonts for such information.

This video strikingly shows how we as consumers are swindled by these fine print clauses.

When I said there is no one to spare there literally isn’t anyone to be spared not even children!!!.  (Read more : A comparison of children’s and prime-time fine-print advertising disclosure practices.)

Take a look at this ‘innocent’ Disney commercial for instance

The fine print reads ” the family had been compensated for their participation”A free vacation? No wonder the Rodriquez family is happy and having a good time! Do children really understand this?

Want to see more check out this Ad By P&G

If you didn’t read the fine print, you would have assumed that P&G was giving one dollar to these causes for every bottle of Dawn sold.  I say spare the social causes atleast. What do you think? Is this ethical? Should there be a ban on fine print??? Do let me know your views on it……

To end my blog for the week i will leave you with 2 commercials that mock the concept of fine print. Hope you enjoy watching them!!!

Hampton Hyundai Commercial


Walt Massey Automotive commercial