Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Contrary To Conventional Wisdom, Warnings About Serious Side Effects Increase Sales

From Association for Psychological Science, "Warning of Potential Side Effects of a Product Can Increase Its Sales:"
Drug ads often warn of serious side effects, from nausea and bleeding to blindness, even death. New research suggests that, rather than scaring consumers away, these warnings can improve consumers’ opinions and increase product sales when there is a delay between seeing the ad and deciding to buy or consume the product.
According to [Ziv] Carmon [INSEAD in Singapore] and his colleagues, the warnings backfired because the psychological distance created by the delay between exposure to the ad and the decision to buy made the side effects seem abstract—participants came to see the warning as an indication of the firm’s honesty and trustworthiness.
While conventional wisdom suggests that explicit warnings about dangerous side effect will make people think twice before taking medical risks, these findings suggest otherwise. The researchers believe that their findings are important because these kinds of warnings are so ubiquitous, accompanying many different products or services beyond medications, including medical procedures, financial investments, and sporting activities.
Link to article abstract.

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