Higher Prices Make Wine Lovers Swoon

We’ve seen how many premium brands fool customers into thinking a product is of a higher quality when in reality, it may not be the case.
So check out this study as reported on Bloomberg.com:

Volunteers in California who were given sips of wines with fake prices said they preferred the cabernets they thought were more expensive to the ones they thought were cheaper about 80 percent of the time, according to the study published tomorrow in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers scanning the volunteers’ brains while they drank confirmed they enjoyed the pricier wines more. The experiment helps explain how marketing practices can influence both the preferences of consumers and the enjoyment registered by their brains, said Antonio Rengel, one of the study’s authors.
“The lesson is a very deep one, not only about marketing but about the human experience,” said Rangel, an associate professor of economics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “This study shows that the expectations that we bring to the experience affect the experience itself.”

I’m sure there’s a bit of a wine snobbery in effect here, but there’s an argument to be made that this principle extends across a whole range of products. Which is why attractive, elaborate packaging works well, too.
But what about advertising agencies? Can a BDA (Big Dumb Agency) charge more and fool clients into thinking they’re getting better work because there’s a prestige factor as opposed to getting less expensive work from a relatively smaller, independent agency?

About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.