Priming is something that happens at a very subconscious level. Often when we are exposed to a stimulus like sight, smell, sound or touch, we form an association. When we later hear or see the same stimulus, it triggers similar associations and we make what seem like natural links. For example, music influencing wine choice.

The kings of Priming...

Coca-Cola know how to do Priming well. Known for their powerful red, the company ditched the staple shade when launching their Coca-Cola Life product back in 2013. Championing a healthier-lifestyle, using sweeteners instead of sugar and boasting fewer calories than other drinks from the family, Coca-Cola Life adopted a purer, green shade.

Other drinks from the family like Diet, Vanilla and Zero all feature the red shade somewhere within their packaging. But not Coca-Cola Life. The healthiest of a not-so-healthy bunch, choosing green for the drink was a well-thought out move by the brand. A colour typically associated with purity, health and natural ingredients, consumers would have subconsciously attached these traits to Coca-Cola Life.

The happy can...

Coca-Cola once again took on Priming in their “Open the happy can” campaign that launched in Italy. Taking inspiration from a study that looked at the impact of subliminal facial expressions, they found that people who were presented with a happy face drank more Koolaid than people presented with an angry or neutral face. Coca-Cola showed that every time someone opens a can of coke, they’re greeted with a friendly smile. So, consumers should want to drink more coke.

Coca-Cola, Priming
Coca-Cola, Open the Happy Can campaign

Using comforting scents...

In 2012, McCain released mouth-wateringly good, jacket potato scents at 10 bus stops around the country to accompany their outdoor advertising. Promoting their Ready Made Jackets, they targeted commuters in the chilly month of February, as well as dispensing vouchers for consumers to use in supermarkets. A cold evening, possibly late bus and the comforting smell of a jacket spud, there’s only one thing you’d crave for dinner.

And sweet scents...

In May 2018, Beefeater London Dry Gin took Oxford Circus underground station from drab commuter route to sweet-scented haven. Launching their new strawberry flavoured gin, the brand decked the walls with strawberry-scented posters in a saccharine pastel pink shade. Tough day at work? We wonder how many people stopped at the shop for strawberry gin on the way home.

Beefeater London Dry Gin, Priming
Beefeater London Dry Gin, Strawberry Gin campain in Oxford Circus underground station

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