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It’s not the product that counts – it’s the information about the product…

[photopress:fairysm.jpg,full,alignright]Another great experiment by MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely as described in his book “Predictably Irrational” shows that it is not the product that counts but the information about the product.

In one experiment, they sold SoBe drinks to two groups of students who were about to exercise. The first group paid full price, while the second group got a 30% discount. After exercising they asked the students whether they felt more or less fatigued than usual – and all reported that they were indeed less tired. Except that the group which paid full price was less fatigued than the group which paid less. The 50c aspirin does work better than the 5c aspirin…

They then did an experiment where they sold students SoBe, which claims to provide “energy for the mind,” before administering a 15-word puzzle. Again, one group paid full price and another paid less. They also baselined the experiment with a group that did not take SoBe. The group that paid full price solved as many word puzzles as the group that did not get the drink, while the group which got the discount solved about 30% less word puzzles.

WOW…we are doomed.

But wait! It gets better. They then performed the same experiment except that this time they printed the following message on the cover of the quiz booklet “Drinks such as SoBe have been shown to improve mental functioning, resulting in improved performance on tasks such as solving puzzles.” They also stated that the SoBe web site referred to 50 scientific studies to support these claims – information which was totally fictional. The results? The ones that paid full price solved 33% more puzzles than the ones who did not get the drink, and the ones that got the discount solved 7% more word puzzles.

And who said that messaging was dead? The things you say about your product may indeed be more important that the product itself…

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