Monday, September 13, 2010

Shopping is 'like watching porn'

Consumers offered discounts or or other promotions on a range of consumer goods showed a mental response resembling that of sexual arousal, the researchers found

Having wired up 50 volunteers, the scientists from the University of Westminster monitored their eye movements and emotional responses to the products and graded them on a scale of one to ten.

A high of ten is the equivalent to severe trauma which is rarely seen and could be dangerous. But a score of between five and seven is the kind of excitement a body has to erotic images such as pornography. One Marmite promotion, to get a free audiobook featuring the children's character Horrid Henry, registered a scored of up to 5.8 among the consumers.

Others including a discount couple for Cravendale milk and a Wallace & Gromit free gift with Kingsmill bread also scored particularly highly among the early results.

The research has been commissioned by The Institute of Promotional Marketing and is yet to be completed, it was revealed in trade journal The Grocer.

But the early results suggest the ones which get shoppers most excited in the tests have also been among the most successful commercially.

Colin Harper of the Institute said: "It's early days but these results indicate a correlation between high emotional response and sales uplift."

But the problem has often been to get consumers to buy a product after the promotion has ended, he added, and the research hopes to find out why that happens.

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