The Effect of Similarity Between A Product's Packaging Color and the Benefit Offered on Judgments and Preferences

Keli Saporta-Sorozon


Studies show a product's color affects consumer behavior. Yet the basic principle that governs color effects is unclear. In this study, we fill this gap. We demonstrate that causal-reasoning considerations govern color effects. Specifically, people expect that a cause and its effect should exhibit some degree of resemblance or congruency (“like causes like”), which leads them to use the “law of similarity” heuristic. In two studies, using various products, we focused on an irrelevant aspect of the product’s color—the color of its packaging. We demonstrate that the same ad (e.g., a patch that prevents mosquito bites) was more persuasive (willingness to purchase the product – henceforth WTP, and preference) when the product’s packaging color was congruent (pinkish) with the effect promised (calm skin) than when it was not (red).

We strengthen the notion that leaning on a cause-effect-similarity heuristic is very basic, by showing that individual differences in thinking style have a very small effect on moderating this tendency.

In line with other studies, which shows that causal-reasoning considerations (as previous knowledge and metal causal structure) govern judgment and choice on artifacts (products), the present study demonstrates that causal-reasoning considerations govern judgment and choice concerning cause-effect similarity heuristic as well.

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Business and Management Studies     ISSN 2374-5916 (Print)     ISSN 2374-5924 (Online)

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