As humans, anything free is hugely motivating and attractive to us.

In an experiment at MIT Dan Ariely author of Predictably Irrational offered Lindt truffles for 15 cents and Hershey kisses for 1 cent. As Lindt is seen as a luxury chocolate and should cost more: 73% of students chose Lindt and 27% chose Hershey’s. However, when both were reduced by one cent, bringing Lindt to 14 cents and Hershey’s to free. The relative cost of chocolates did not change but this time 69% chose Hershey’s and 31% chose Lindt, demonstrating the power of free.

Delivery’s better when it’s free

What’s better than your goods delivered to your door, than your goods being delivered to your door for free? Chris Anderson wrote about Amazon’s experience of introducing free delivery in his book “Free.” Once Amazon implement their free shipping offer, sales went up in each country except for one – France.

The difference? France charged 20 cents instead of free. 20 cents is basically free, at least in proportion to the item you’re purchasing, yet the 20 cent shipping charge made a drastic difference. Once they changed it to free, sales went up in France as well.

The cost of playing the clown

For Halloween 2017, Burger King launched their Scary Clown Night campaign. Aiming the campaign at their competitors, McDonalds, they offered a free Whopper burger to anyone who came in branch dressed as a clown on Halloween.

Attracting over 110,000 clowns into their branches worldwide that night, there were plenty of free Whoppers snapped up. But with their bold move, Burger King’s global sales went up by 15% that evening too. That really is the power of free.

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