When Do 80% of Customers Choose the More Expensive Option?

American Marketing Association
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Key Takeaways
Consumers respond differently to videos and other dynamic ads than to static ads such as a still image.

You’re traveling, and you go online to pick a hotel. Will it be an upscale Marriott, with well-appointed features and special services? Or a plain yet functional Red Roof Inn? According to a new study in the Journal of Marketing, it depends on the advertisements for each hotel that you are seeing. If both are advertised in videos rather than still pictures, you are almost 80% more likely to pick the Marriott.

“Consumers respond differently to videos and other dynamic ads than to static ads such as a still image,” write the authors of the study, Anne L. Roggeveen (Babson College), Dhruv Grewal (Babson College), Claudia Townsend (University of Miami), and R. Krishnan (University of Miami). “Dynamic ads lead viewers to choose products that emphasize pleasure over functionality and that have emotional or aesthetic appeal.”

The authors tested five hypotheses using similar methods and controlling for such things as the size and content of the ads, include the language of the ads. In the first test, which was the foundation of the study, 135 participants, drawn from an online general population sample, were asked to choose between two hotel rooms. One was in a more expensive hotel and had a fancy shower and pillow-top bed; the other was in a cheaper hotel and had a regular bed and shower. Participants who saw the hotel rooms presented in a dynamic format were almost 80% more likely to choose the more expensive—in other words, the better appointed—hotel.

As the results of the study indicate, retailers and manufacturers should present what the authors call hedonically superior options—options that emphasize pleasure and aesthetic appeal—using dynamic ads. Dynamic ads encourage consumers to regard the hedonic benefits as more important and enhance their willingness to pay for them.

“The Internet and visual technologies have enabled manufacturers, retailers, and service providers to present their products and services using a range of presentation forms,” the authors write. “Dynamic (relative to static) presentation formats enhance the preference for hedonic options by over 79%.”

Anne L. Roggeveen, Dhruv Grewal, Claudia Townsend, and R. Krishnan. “The Impact of Dynamic Presentation Format on Consumer Preferences for Hedonic Products.” Forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing. For more information, contact Anne L. Roggeveen (aroggeveen@babson.edu) or Mary-Ann Twist (mtwist@ama.org).

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