Say hello to Richard


Richard Shotton is the author of The Choice Factory, a best-selling book on how to apply findings from behavioural science to advertising. The Choice Factory topped a global poll organised by ad agency by BBH to find the best book ever written on advertising.

Richard started his career as a media planner 19 years ago, working on accounts such as Coke, Lexus and, before founding Astroten, a consultancy specialising in applying behavioural science to business problems.

He tweets about the latest social psychology findings from the handle @rshotton.

Nespresso.  It applied price relativity wonderfully at launch. By packaging its pods in a single-cup serving it shifted the comparison set from roast and ground coffee, like Douwe Egberts, to coffee shops, like Starbucks.

This shift persuaded shoppers to pay about six times as much for Nespresso as they do for roast and ground coffee.

If Nespresso was sold in half-kilo bags, they would cost £50 each. Would you pick up a bag on a trip to Tesco if it was nestled next to the roast and ground coffee bags costing a fiver?

Probably not. But many people are happy paying 50p a pod, which works out about £50 for a half kilo.

Flat Iron, the steak restaurant.

They’re masters of applying the peak-end rule. The peak-end rule is the idea that people are most likely to remember the peak (that’s the most intense moment) and the final moment of an experience.

Flat Iron apply that idea brilliantly. As you exit the restaurant they surprise you with a free ice cream cone.

A great tactic that costs almost nothing but leaves diners with long-lasting positive memories!

The pratfall effect. That’s the idea that people and products who admit a flaw become more appealing. It’s a fascinating bias because there’s a lot of evidence for it yet it’s still underused by brands. On the rare occasions that it’s used it has proved highly effective for brands. Think of Guinness admitting they’re slow, VW Beetle that it’s ugly or Stella that it’s expensive. You can read more about the bias here.


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