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The Cootie Effect: Touch, Contagion, and Magical Thinking

I’ve written about product contagion – the weird ability of one product to “infect” another with its properties (or its “cooties”) when they touch in a shopping cart – but there’s a related phenomenon that is, if anything, even stranger. […]

By |August 11th, 2014|

Product Contagion in Action

I’ve been traveling quite a bit recently (which explains the lower rate of Neuromarketing posts), and at a recent stay at a Jameson Inn in Indiana, I encountered the above product arrangement on the shelf of their little convenience shop next to the check-in desk. While most of the studies have looked at the effect of juxtaposing products, say, in a shopping cart, this is an unusual example of product contagion right on the shelf. (If you didn’t catch my previous post, “product contagion” refers to the demonstrated ability of a product likely to arouse disgust in a consumers mind to “contaminate” nearby products, as in a shopper’s cart. Put your cookies next to a bag of kitty litter and the cookies become less appealing.) I’ve got to wonder how Instant Lunch sales at this particular hotel compare to sales at other Jameson locations…

And that product positioning wasn’t the only neuromarketing gaffe I found during that stay. Clearly, the central office didn’t read Green Marketing Doesn’t Work (or Cialdini’s book Yes! ) when they wrote the copy for this card: […]

By |October 13th, 2008|

Product Contagion

I recall the first mega-store that opened locally – it happened to be a Meijer store, though now Super Wal-Marts, Super Targets, and other stores that sell everything are common. It was interesting to watch what other shoppers had in their carts as they checked out – a gallon of milk, a floor mop, khaki slacks, and a chainsaw… one could start a creative writing contest in which entrants had to write a story based on shopping carts full of disparate items. As it turns out, there’s a downside to at least some of those weird product juxtapositions. New research shows that products that trigger subconscious feelings of disgust can “contaminate” consumer perceptions of other products. […]

By |May 24th, 2007|