Our decisions are often steered by ‘anchors’ which give us a starting point to base our final decision on. The first piece of information we learn is the primary anchor and psychologists have found that this has a serious impact on the decisions we make.

Anchoring is a priming effect and is arguably one of the most famous and readily applied behavioural bias within marketing, particularly in commerce. It’s used to set the expectations of a customer by including a quantity or price as a reference point to their inform decision.

Anchoring helps us live healthier lives

A simple but effective example of anchoring is the “5 a day” push to get people to eat fruit and veg is a great example of this. ‘5’  has little scientific basis as the right amount to eat, but people have latched on to it.

It also helps make ‘turning right’ on the plane a more valuable experience

Virgin Atlantic use anchoring to feature a range of economy class options. By showing what the highest economy seat cost is, anything lower than that, i.e the economy light will seem like a good deal to the customer. In doing this they have also shifted our value perception of what ‘economy’ means.

5 a day, Change 4 Life, Anchoring
The 5 a day programme from Change 4 Life

Anchoring is commonplace in supermarket advertising

With aisles and aisles of brands to choose from it’s no surprise that for brands like ALDI, anchoring is a go-to behavioural bias for cutting through the competition.

Take ALDI’s ‘Like’ ads for example. They use price comparison to present brands with a higher price first. They do this to anchor the audience’s view on price before presenting the ALDI option, which is a much lower. Which do you choose?

Aldi Likes Brands, Anchoring,
From Aldi's "Aldi Like Brands" TV advert

What is Behavioural Economics?

Behavioural Economics has been around since the 60s. It blends elements of psychology and economics to identify the mental triggers, or bias, nudges and heuristics, that affect the decisions people make.

This blog series is your go-to guide for a snapshot into what these triggers are, and how they can be used in marketing to influence consumer behaviour.

A bit about us

As an agency, influencing behaviours is core to what we do and applying Behavioural Economics to marketing communications is a natural progression. If you are interested in understanding more about how we do this get in touch now.

Find out more about the connection between consumers and behavioural economics in our latest report on the top trends driving consumer behaviour. Download it here.

By Phil Monks

Deputy Creative Director