Monday, May 31, 2010

Plus-size models are unlikely to work on their intended customers

Plus-size models are unlikely to work on their intended customers. That’s according to a new study by researchers at ASU, the University of Cologne in Germany and Erasmus University in the Netherlands, which demonstrates a link between model sizes in advertisements and the self-esteem of consumers looking at the ads.

“We believe it is unlikely that many brands will gain market share by using heavy models in their ads,” said Naomi Mandel, marketing associate professor in the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU. “We found that overweight consumers demonstrated lower self-esteem – and therefore probably less enthusiasm about buying products – after exposure to any size models in ads (versus ads with no models). Also, normal-weight consumers experienced lower self-esteem after exposure to moderately heavy models, such as those in Dove soap’s ‘Real Women’ campaign, than after exposure to moderately thin models.”

Mandel and her colleagues performed a series of experiments based on the popular idea that looking at extremely thin models can negatively affect consumers’ self-esteem and possibly even lead to eating disorders in young girls. That belief is why fashion show organizers in Milan, Italy and Madrid, Spain, recently banned super waif models from their catwalks.

In the new study, researchers took the link between model size and self-esteem even further by factoring in the consumers’ own body size and self-esteem before looking at the ads. Although they did confirm that exposure to extremely thin models can be damaging to most women’s self-esteem, they also found some surprising effects.

“We show it is not just the size of the models in the ads, but also the relative distance between the consumer’s size and the model’s size that affects self-esteem,” Mandel said.

In the study, hundreds of female students had their high body mass index (BMI) based on their heights and weights. They were then invited to a lab, but were not told the true nature of the study. They were shown a variety of ads and told to answer several questions, only some of which were truly related to the study. The questionnaires showed the participants’ self-esteem shifted based on the model sizes they saw in the ads and whether they considered themselves to be similar to or different from those sizes.

Low-BMI, thinner women tended to experience a boost in self-esteem when they viewed all models because they identified positively with the thinner models and saw themselves as different from the heavier models. Higher-BMI, heavier women dropped in self-esteem when looking at all models because they saw themselves as different from the thinner, idealized ones and similar to the overweight models.

Normal-BMI women had the most shifts in self-esteem, depending on what types of images they saw and could therefore be the most influenced by pictures in ads. For example, if they viewed a moderately thin model, they felt similar and good; if they saw a moderately heavy model, they worried they were similar and overweight.

These findings could be used to prompt changes in behavior. For example, if a normal-size woman sees moderately heavy images in ads for weight-loss products, she might feel overweight and be more inclined to buy a diet plan or gym membership. The same premise could apply to using heavy images in public service announcements aimed at fighting the obesity epidemic.

The study is published in April’s Journal of Consumer Researcho

The power of scent

Does scent enhance consumer product memories? It may seem odd to add scent to products like sewing thread, automobile tires, and tennis balls, as some companies have done. But a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research says scent helps consumers remember product information.

“Product scent may be particularly effective at enhancing memory for product
information as a function of its ability to enhance a product’s distinctiveness within its surrounding context,” write authors Aradhna Krishna (University of Michigan), May Lwin (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), and Maureen Morrin (Rutgers University). Scent enhances a product’s distinctiveness, which helps consumers remember it down the line, the authors found. And while ambient(atmospheric) scents seem to boost memory for all the objects encountered in the scented environment (product, signs, lighting, salespeople), it doesn’t much help people remember particular products. In one study, the authors had 151 participants evaluate pencils that were unscented, scented with pine scent (common), or scented with tea tree scent (uncommon). “We found that the memory for the scented pencils was much greater than memory for the unscented pencils, and that this effect was especially pronounced after a time delay,” the authors write. They also found that participants’ memory of the uncommonly (tea tree) scented pencils was more resistant to decay.

In a second study, the authors compared the effectiveness of product scent to ambient scent. The researchers manipulated whether or not the target product (facial tissues) was scented and whether or not the room was scented. “We find again that when a product is scented, long-term memory for that product’s attributes increases, and further, that product scent is more effective than ambient scent at enhancing memory for product-related information,” the authors write.

“Our studies show that product scent significantly enhances recall of product information, and that this enhanced memory for product information persists over time—for at least two weeks after the time of exposure,” the authors write. Aradhna Krishna, May Lwin, and Maureen Morrin. “Product Scent and Memory.” Journal of Consumer Research: June 2010o

Less is more

Assortment cutbacks might be a good thing for sales, The Globe and Mail report. "Several months ago Wal-Mart Canada Corp. decided to overhaul one of the staples of its grocery business – the peanut butter aisle.

It dropped two of its five lines of peanut butter to free up scarce shelf space for cinnamon spreads. But the decision didn’t cost the retailer a single jar in sales. With fewer selections to browse, customers wound up purchasing more than before.

“Folks can get overwhelmed with too much variety,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising officer at Wal-Mart in Mississauga. “With too many choices, they actually don’t buy."" Read the rest of the article here.

More articles on this subject:

Al Ries in Advertising Age.
When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing? by researchers Sheena S. Iyengar and Mark R. Lepper
Choices Sap Your Stamina, Self Control: Study by Randy Dotingao

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Free E-book on Optimization and Innovation

"Hardcore Retail" is all about creating results and survival tactics for retailers.

If you want to download it click on the Slideshare logo in the bottom right hand corner and choose "Download" the meny, or else send me an email to An English version is under translation, if you want a message once it is ready, please give me a mail.o

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Low prices makes customers loyal

In Loyalty Index 2010, a COLLOQUY’s latest study of U.S. retail consumer loyalty ratings and attitudes, there is a shift in driving factors for achieving loyalty from customer service to price.

"For years, small independent and mom-and-pop retailers have complained that when Walmart strode into their towns, their businesses crumbled due to competition they couldn’t overcome. Larger, established retailers have been battling Walmart for the past decade or so at the sales register, but have managed to hold on to customers loyal to their brands. However, with the recession acting like a second-stage booster rocket, Walmart has upended the status quo among its national retail peers by chewing into their last remaining frontier— customer-professed loyalty—at least for now." Read the whole report here.o

Brand Attitudes: How Companies Can Avoid the “Tiger Woods” Effect

When a company drafts a single celebrity to represent a brand, it can backfire—in the way Tiger Woods’ indiscretions affected Accenture. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research examines different ways to secure brand loyalty.

“A widely applied method for improving how people feel about a brand is to pair the brand with positive stimuli,” write authors Steven Sweldens (INSEAD), Stijn van Osselaer (Erasmus University), and Chris Janiszewski (University of Florida). “A brand can be advertised using attractive imagery, endorsements by a celebrity, or used in event sponsoring. Invariably, advertisers hope that the favorable feelings generated by the positive stimuli will attach to the brand.”

The pairing of a brand with positive stimuli is called evaluative conditioning, and the researchers found that evaluative conditioning can occur in two different ways: direct transfer and indirect transfer.

“In indirect transfer, the positive feelings toward the brand are dependent on creating a link in memory between the brand and a positive stimulus. For example, MasterCard uses the popular NFL player Peyton Manning to advertise its product, creating a link between MasterCard and Peyton Manning,” the authors write.

A second form of evaluative conditioning involves the direct transfer of feelings
to the brand. In this case, the positive feeling from the stimulus “rubs off” on the brand. For example, Nike sponsors 55 current NBA players, which associates the brand with a wide range of likeable athletes. “For these fans, the Nike brand becomes more liked as a consequence of the sponsorship of many athletes, not because of the sponsorship of any one athlete,” the authors write.

This difference is displayed in Woods’ association with Accenture. “If a brand has used Tiger Woods to create an indirect transfer of feelings, then Woods’ recent indiscretions are particularly damaging to the brand,” the authors write. “Advertising and product use can be structured to facilitate direct versus indirect affect transfer, which yields more robust brand attitudes than indirect affect transfer,” the authors conclude.o

I Like It, but I Don’t Know Why: How Does Conditioning Affect Consumer Choice?

Even when they are exposed to conflicting information about products,
consumers are greatly affected by images attached to brands, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

“On any given day a consumer is repeatedly exposed to brands that are paired with various images in one form or another—from logos on the sides of buildings to televised commercials,” write authors Melanie Dempsey (Ryerson University) and Andrew A. Mitchell (University of Toronto). “Although the consumer may not be able to recall brand claims or even the brand name itself, the consumer might have been left with a positive feeling, one which he or she may not even be consciously aware.”

The authors set out to determine what would happen when consumers were conditioned to like or dislike brands and then exposed to conflicting product information. To create this effect, they used an evaluative conditioning task, where hundreds of images of several hypothetical brands, pictures, and words were randomly presented, individually and in pairs, on a computer screen. During the task, one target brand was paired with 20 negative images and words and the other target brand was paired with 20 positive images and words. “The participants were unable to recognize that a particular brand had been paired with either negative or positive images. Therefore, we were able to create an ‘I like it, but I don’t know why’ effect,” the authors write.

In a follow-up experiment, the researchers presented participants with product attribute information that contradicted their earlier impressions about pens. “We found that they selected the pen with the inferior attributes that was positively conditioned even though the product attribute information was available in memory,” the authors explain.

Further experiments found that even “highly motivated” participants were unable to overcome the conditioning. “Choice decisions of consumers are not only determined by evaluations of rational information (product attributes) but are also driven by forces that are generally outside of rational control,” the authors conclude.o

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A must read!

If you only have time to read one paper this week, get your hands on this!

Razorfish Outlook of 2010 with topics such as It´s time for everyday innovation. Read or download here. 104 pages for free!o

Friday, May 21, 2010

Deloitte and planet retail identify retail’s emerging market bright spots

London 19th of May — A new report from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Planet Retail has identified eight of the most attractive emerging markets for global retailers, beyond China. Developed economies are coming out of recession, but retailers in those countries face competitive and consolidated markets, suggesting a future of slower growth domestically. Emerging markets have the potential for more rapid growth and the report, ‘Hidden Heroes: Emerging retail markets beyond China’, highlights Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and Vietnam as potential bright spots for the industry.

Bryan Roberts, Global Research Director at Planet Retail, said: “While the other BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia and India) feature in our report, our view is that some of the most exciting opportunities for global retailing lie beyond the BRICs.

“Vietnam, for example, is a tremendous prospect. It has enjoyed rapid economic growth over recent years and should benefit as China sees a structural shift in its economy away from low value-added exports. Further, the country’s population is expected to hit 100 million in the next decade, with about a third of people under the age of 15, there is rapid urbanization and a consumer move away from wet markets, partly as a result of food safety concerns following the avian flu crisis. This all bodes well for retailing.”

Ira Kalish, Director of Consumer Business for Deloitte Research, part of Deloitte Services LP in the United States, added: “Turkey and Indonesia have similar characteristics to Vietnam with young, growing populations, but they also have established or already emerging middle classes. In Turkey the half a million small, independent shops is rapidly declining as modern retail formats proliferate. In Indonesia, while foreign investment in retail has increased, the number of foreign retailers remains lower than might be expected. There is opportunity for foreign retailers to become stronger, despite ambitious expansion plans of a number of local players.”

Roberts added: “The other BRIC economies should not be forgotten. Brazil continues to represent a significant opportunity with one of the largest middle classes of any emerging economy – around 40 million people living in a manner comparable to developed countries. Although food retailing is already highly consolidated and dominated by foreign companies, non-food retailing remains fragmented. The country’s many popular malls are populated by large numbers of relatively small chains. An opportunity exists – both for foreigners and for home-grown retail concepts.”

The report argues that Russia and India present global consumer businesses with a conundrum. Russia has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade and has been relatively open to foreign investment in retail. However, its population is declining, corruption remains a problem, and future growth is dependent on the volatile resource sector. India has a youthful population and a rapidly increasing middle class, but foreign investment has been restricted in retail. The low level of investment in infrastructure, protectionism, and the lack of a single market are also concerns.

Kalish said: “Russia’s retail industry is dominated by domestic players as foreigners have been relatively few and far between. In the years ahead, the degree to which foreigners invest more in Russia will depend on its economic growth and stability. For now, the regulatory environment is relatively benign and foreigners don’t face many formal obstacles to market entry.”

“Retailers seeking to enter the Indian market have some serious challenges, but the retail opportunity remains alluring. The middle class is showing signs of adopting modern shopping behavior as the savings rate declines and the market for consumer credit expands rapidly. Large purchases are becoming more accessible and middle class families generally have less time to shop at street markets and small shops. The one-stop convenience of large, modern stores is increasingly appealing.”

Roberts concluded: “The emerging markets highlighted in this report represent some of the biggest and brightest opportunities for global retailers. However, the search for growth doesn’t end here. Other markets are starting to appear on retailers’ radar screens. Colombia is likely to become a strategic priority for international retailers already trading in other Latin American markets. South Africa, as the leading economy on the African continent, is seen as an excellent base from which to launch continent-wide initiatives. Ukraine, with roughly 50 million people, is seen as a next step after entering the Russian market.”

Download the report here.

Source: Deloitte.como

Is your brand talkable

Good or bad, does your brand touch people enough to be talkable?


What motivates us


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ukrainian viral for Revo Energy Drink

This is surely creative and cost councious, though maybe not for everyone. Anyway, the Revo team did a target audience effective work, with small means. A true guerilla campaign.


Reinventing retail is a must

"LAS VEGAS — Retailers need to reinvent the grocery store in the wake of the economic downturn, and in many ways that means starting from scratch, said Wendy Liebmann, founder, chief executive officer and chief shopper, WSL Strategic Retail." Read the whole story here.

And read the Retailomania perspective here.o

Monday, May 17, 2010

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action


Free e-book on Retail Concept Development

As competition gets tougher by the minute it is time to re-learn the art of the merchant, knowing your store, knowing your products and above or understand the customers. Looking at some of the latest retail concepts the art of the merchant is obviously lost in favour of design elements. "The Return of the Merchant", outlines some old and new tricks of the trade on how to create an effective retail concept, no more and no less.

If you want to download it click on the Slideshare logo in the bottom right hand corner and choose "Download" the meny, or else send me an email to, or go to and click on the icon on the start page. An English version is under translation, if you want a message once it is ready, please give me a mail.o

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sabon, interesting concept from Israel


Friday, May 14, 2010

60 page retail magazine for free

Some reading for the weekend? Download may/june issue of The Hub Magazine here.o

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Diesel interactive store window


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

SKU rationalization

Cutting the number of SKUs is on the todo-list of most retailers to make room for private brands and control stock levels. "So, what is the right approach to SKU, line and brand rationalization? What is the best way to reduce the risk of lost and confused shoppers and maximize returns? The right approach starts with understanding how the shopper organizes the category into distinct segments based on usage and purchase behaviors" Read more here in the white paper by Paul Thomson of Henry Rak Consulting Partners.o

On Disney

Read an interesting Q&A with Jim Fielding, president Disney Stores worldwide here.o

Change management, the short version


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Demographic segmentation in retail - no more

The 2010 How America Shops Megatrends study from WSL Strategic Retail state that demographics is a much less factor than a few years ago, meaning that lifestyle and other factors are taking over. Though this has been a clear trend for years it is now longer any discussions that the effects i present in the numbers. Further, one-third of shoppers with incomes more than $150,000 per year are cutting spending and avoiding places where they are tempted to overspend. And more than half of all ages and income groups feel that the recession will be around for another two years at least, and that it may take them two years after that to recover their financial stability.

Situation and lifestage segmentation are two ways to change the perspective on how to describe the target audience.o

Babies or babes in advertising?

While some ad agencies seem to find any excuse available, for showing off female model wearing close to nothing (the current record is held by this brazilian manufacturer of highlighter pencil, and if you look close enough you can see one up in the upper left corner) no matter what the product they are pushing, chances are that they chose the wrong model.

Research shows that baby pictures might be a better way to capture the attention of the beholders and, at the same time, create a positive feeling about the brand.

It is known that lost wallets with babypictures are more likely to be delivered back to their rightful owners. Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, made an intresting experiment in Edinburgh were wallet were placed on the street.
Fully 88% of the wallets with the baby photo were returned. The next best rate was the puppy photo, at 53%. A family photo netted a 48% return rate, while an elderly couple picture scored only 28%.

All faces are eye magnets in a way. In a study using MEG scanning equipment, the researches found that all face images caused brain activity, but adult images lit up the back of the brain while baby pictures lit up an area in the front of the brain associated with emotions.

The Australian usability specialist James Breeze conducted a study to track eye movements when people were watching ads and concluded that all faces attracted attention but the real attention was given to the spot were the model was looking at. In one ad with a baby watching the headline, the eye first focused on the baby´s face and then ended on the headline, meaning that it is not only possible to attract attention with faces but also to control the eye movements of the beholder.o

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Next besting" is a reality in US Retail

Kristin Bentz, president of Talented Blonde, comments on the latest numbers from the US retail scene.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Social Media Revolution


No touching please

Authors Joann Peck and Suzanne B. Shu decided to put a warning from the Illinois state attorney general's office made 2003 to the test. The warning was directed to holiday shoppers a urged them to be cautious of retailers who encourage them to hold objects and imagine the objects as their own when shopping.

"In our research, we have evidence that the warning from the attorney general is valid. In four studies, we find that merely touching an object increases the feelings of ownership a person has for the object. This, in turn, results in a person being willing to pay more for most objects that they touch versus objects that they cannot touch," the authors write. "We also find that when touch is unavailable, such as shopping online, having people imagine owning a product increases their perception of ownership and how much they are willing to pay for a product."

If people have a positive or neutral response to touching an object, they are willing to pay more for it, the authors explain. However, if an object does not feel particularly pleasant to the touch, it decreases the amount consumers are willing to pay.

"For most products, the touch experience is positive or neutral so merely touching a product usually increases how much a person is willing to pay for an object," the authors write.o

Friday, May 7, 2010

Crossing channels

"We're seeing a lot of customers holding up cell phones to associates and saying 'beat that price,'" said Colin Hynes, director of usability at Staples Inc. to "Price transparency is what its all about now—and that's scary for the retailer."

Once upon a time customers did their research at the store, then they googled before they left home and now they comparing prices while in the store.

This makes one think on two things. First, how will the price transparency on the web affect the need for premium providers (ie non-discount stores) to visualize the "premium" in their offer. There will be no time for talking to every customer at the store.

Secondly, how can you benefit from the mobiliziation of retail by using apps for instance? Target´s bar code search app makes it possible to search for products and direct the customer to the exact aisle in the nearest Target to find the product you searched. Is it time to define a mobile strategy?o

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lessons from Starbucks

The company tthat didn´t think about branding, by John Moore a former Starbucks marketer.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Vendor/client relationship

Do you work at or with an ad agency? Watch this...anyone getting a flashback feeling?