Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Limited Edition

As a society, it’s often said that we are driven to desire objects that we cant have and therefore want them even more (Luigi, 2009). People place high value on objects that are in short supply, and lower the value on those that are in abundance – scarcity.


An example of this is the “PS4 – 20th Anniversary Edition”. This trailer outlines a number of principles that form the scarcity persuasion technique. (1) Social Proof – if a product is sold or there are an extremely low number of stocks available (only 12,300 20th Anniversary PS4 worldwide), then people automatically interpret this to mean that the product is good. (2) Commitment and Consistency – if someone has already committed themselves to something (for stance, all the game consoles invented by Play Station), then find out that they can’t have one, it makes them want it even more. (3) Uniqueness – people are motivated to maintain individual differences in terms of how they define themselves on various important self-related dimensions; for instances being one few people in the world to own a limited edition 20th Anniversary PS4. 

Van Herpen et al (2014) carried out study that aimed to look at the effects of scarcity of a specific wine to increase the demands for this choice. In experiment 1 participants were exposed to a shelf a rare wine (partly stocked) and a common wine (fully stocked shelf). Those in the ‘rare wine’ condition were told that there weren’t many available due to either a high demand or limited supply. In experiment 2 participants were asked to “Imagine that a close friend, who has moved abroad, was coming to visit on Friday. You are looking forward to having an evening to chat together, which you cannot do very often. You are going to buy a bottle of wine for that evening. Next, you will see three wines from which you can make a choice.” A picture informed them of what the bottles look like and how many are in the store. One of the wines had emptied shelf space as evidence of prior purchases (demand-scarce); another had shelf space only for 3 bottles (supply-scarce); and the final wine was presented with 9 bottles in shelf space fitted for these 9 bottles (control group).

TABLE 1. Mean scores of participant rating scale in experiment 1

Popularity
Exclusiveness
quality
Preference
Rare
common
Rare
common
Rare
common
Rare
common
Scarcity
Demand-caused
6.96
4.26
4.60
5.80
6.33
6.40
5.91
6.22
Supply-caused
6.49
5.40
4.26
3.87
5.60
5.70
5.32
5.89








Results indicate that participants generally rated the rare wine was more poplar than the common wine, even more so when the reason for the scarcity was due to a high consumer demand rather than limited supply. Table 1. also indicated that the rare wine was considered more exclusive when the reason for scarcity was due to limited supply available. 

Reference
Van Harpen, E., Pieters, R., & Zeelenberg, M. (2014). When less sells more or less: The scarcity principle in wine choice. Food Quality and Prefernce, 36, 153-160




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