Relativity and Marketing

Categories Marketing

The other day I was surfing around looking specifically for Swedish sites related to online marketing. Because although I love having peers on the other side of the earth, it would be nice to be able to attend an after work once in a while.
(For you who don’t know Sweden, 8 months is purely surviving the arctic cold, and therefore we get overly social during summer) 😉

Anywhooo… I stumbled on this blogpost from Walter Naeslund and it’s a truly inspirational 17 minutes! It’s an embedded TED talk from Dan Ariely. Even tough it’s from TED Talks 2008, it’s always relevant in marketing.

He starts out on visual illusions and makes the case for decision illusions/cognitive illusions. Then he illustrates how organ donation is effected with opt-in vs. opt-in forms. Furthermore, choosing between two difficult options often leads to a non-decision and therefore people taking the default-option. From that he concludes that a third “unwanted” option, can help the marketers “most-wanted” option forward!

Key points:

  • Some visual illusions never change – not even when we KNOW what the outcome should be.
  • When faced with hard decisions, we tend to go with the alternative that was chosen for us, i.e. the “pre-checked” option.
  • A third “slightly uglier” option, will help the “slightly better looking” options popularity
  • Behavioral economics is about understanding peoples cognitive limitations, the same way we’ve already understood our physical ones.

Example on “visual illusion”:

I found the picture on Phylomeni blog – the picture links there.

Tables visual illusion
Tables example from TED talks 2008

Example on “default option”:

Organ donation willingness in Sweden is 86%
Organ donation willingness in Denmark is 23 %
Difference – Denmark uses opt-in, while Sweden uses opt-out
(Seriously, I did NOT know this, and I’ve lived in Sweden all my life)

Example from the Economist on “slightly uglier alternative”:

  1. Web subscription $59
  2. Paper subscription $125


  1. Web subscription $59
  2. Paper subscription $125
  3. Paper & Web Subsription $125

Seriously intruiging subject if you ask me! More to come…

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