Blog: Olly WehringPremiumisation - The more they spend, the more they like it

Olly Wehring | 14 January 2008

The cases for and against premiumisation in the drinks industry have been bandied about for quite some time now. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve had the ‘row’ with various drinks execs over the past four years. For the record, I see consumers in developed markets, at least, as being wise to the ways of creating ‘the desire factor’ – or is it just me being tight?

But recent research from the US could suggest I’m on a hiding to nothing – as if I didn’t know that already.

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have found this month that consumers get more excited by a product, the more expensive it is. The researchers gave people two identical red wines, told them that one was more expensive than the other, then asked them which one they preferred. You guessed it, the dearer one was found to be more enjoyable by the human guinea pigs.

A report in the daily Telegraph today (14 January) said the research was a good example of the new discipline of neuroeconomics, one of the aims of which is to understand the subconscious appeal of luxury products that cost more but offer little extra quality.

"These results shed light on the neural effects of marketing,'' Antonio Rangel, the associate professor of economics at the California Institute of Technology, told the paper.


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