April 1st just passed, did you get fooled?
Advertising is designed to entice you to purchase a product. Companies use many different strategies and tactics to promote their products and services, but let’s be honest, some of these tactics have played us, the consumer, for fools. In the spirit of the season, it is only right that we review some of these tactics with you so that you won’t be an April fool when you make your next purchase.
The next time you make a purchase, do your research. Many companies overprice their products, making them seem like a good deal in comparison to something else. However, the product that is often being compared is either overpriced or not an apples to apples comparison. Don’t get duped! For example, if you see an $80 steak at the start of the menu, the $20 ribs will seem more like a good deal in comparison. But, is it really a better deal?
Interestingly, it has also been shown that those who do end up getting the overpriced food (i.e. $80 steak) tend to enjoy the meal more than if it was less money, even if the meal is the exact same. They higher perceived value gives the illusion of a luxurious meal, when in fact, that $80 steak could just be a marked up $20 steak.
One penny under a dollar sure does make a difference. It’s all about strategy and this is probably the most widely used trick of them all. Simply dropping the price of an item to end in .99 has been proven to psychologically make us think an item is significantly cheaper when it’s only a penny difference. So, whether the item is $0.99 or $9.99, we’ve been conditioned to think we’re getting a deal when in reality, it’s just a penny.
A cool, refreshing beverage should quench your thirst, right? Do you ever wonder why when you drink soda or any big brand water that you don’t feel completely quenched by the end of the beverage? You can thank sodium chloride for that, better known as salt. Some beverage companies put salt within their drinks in hopes that you’ll have to drink more, in turn making it so you must buy more. And clearly it’s working because despite Americans’ awareness that sodas are unhealthy, over half of them consume at least one soda per day. Our guess is most consume more than one because of the salt intake.
Have you ever seen a mouthwatering pizza on a commercial and immediately wanted to order a pizza? We’ve all seen the spectacular looking food in commercials. And, it’s not just the pizza that may look good; they really know how to make a Big Mac look gourmet, but for those that have ordered the food know that it almost never looks as good in person. The reality is, most of the food in these commercials are not even real. These companies have whole teams of people that specialize in food photography & editing. Some of their methods are equal parts deceptive and ingenious. They often use glycerin to make sea food appear juicer, use dyed mashed potatoes to mimic ice cream (because the lighting would melt the ice cream too quickly to photograph), insert carboard into cake slices (as well as pancake stacks) to make it more structurally sound and separate the icing from the cake to avoid stray crumbs on the icing, gluing sesame seeds to buns, and most ice you see in commercials is plastic made specifically to look like ice cubes. There’s plenty more examples, but I think you get the idea. A majority of food you see on TV is a lie, a delicious looking disgustingly made lie. Yum!
“You get what you pay for” doesn’t always hold true for some companies, some have very tricky ways of saving a bit of money by changing their portion sizes over time giving you less for the same amount of money. Here are a few examples of this trickery at play: Over time cereal boxes have become thinner. Lays hold about 30% chips and the rest is nitrogen; this helps keep the chips fresh for longer while on the shelf, but at the expense of less chips. Snickers started selling two small bars within one wrapper leaving a gap between them, this gap cuts down on the amount of chocolate and saves them tons of money each year. By far the most disturbing of these proportion scandals is the meat industry. Meat is sold by weight, so to make them heavier (especially chickens) they inject water into the meat, this method is called “plumping”. Some chickens sold on the market have been shown to be made up of up to 30% water.
Advertising is a great tool used by many companies to promote their products, but as you can see, many companies have “fooled” us with their deceptive tactics. Pay attention to what you’re buying and make sure you are truly getting what you pay for.
In the meantime, if you are interested in crafting an advertising campaign that will not “fool” your customers, but genuinely grow your brand and promote your product, consider partnering with the team at XLDesign4U.