Wednesday, July 17, 2013

lost in the supermarket - heuristics remix with thankyou water

Thankyou Water, the bottled water company that generates funding for social projects in the developing world are launching a number of extensions into other product categories, ordinary things that you would normally find in a supermarket.

So far the two big Australian supermarkets have never stocked the Thankyou Water and so this campaign seeks to encourage supporters to lobby the big two supermarkets in order to change their policy and offer distribution of the Thankyou products.

From a communications and behavioural point of view it has all the ingredients of something that just might work on both counts - getting the products into the supermarket and raising more funds.

Watch the video, then let's unpack it a bit.

For a start, Thankyou water have understood that, particularly in fmcg situations, the drivers of purchasing behaviour are much more about the availability of the brand (both mental and physical) than any ideas of loyalty.

Marketers routinely confuse loyalty with habit.

The availability heuristic describes the tendency we have to believe what comes most easily to mind.

To the same token we buy what comes most easily to hand.

Therfore. in developing a habit, the simple mental and physical availability of the product is vital.

Reward substitution.
The kind of projects that Thankyou water support suffer from many of the same problems that things like climate change and sustainability efforts do.

As Dan Ariely famously coined around climate change 'the effects are not visible in our daily lives, the effects will happen to other people a long time in the future and anything we can do now seems like a drop in the ocean'. All of these factors combine to mean that although people care about the issue they tend to do nothing about it.

Ariely points to how eco-friendly cars such as the Toyota Prius have become popular because it allows people to signal to others that they are the kind of person who 'cares about the environment' without any significant behavioural costs. The Prius is a car, it looks pretty distinctive and cool and it's more economical.

So a trolley loaded with Thankyou products does the same job.

Commitment and consistency.
Anyone who has ever made a small commitment by buying the water will now be automatically predisposed to make future behaviours fall into line with what they have previously done.

Thankyou water say that the prices of their new products will be no more expensive that typical supermarket prices, which will also make this easy behaviour to adopt.

Attribute substitution.
Simple question.
Do i like Thankyou Water?

What's not to like?
Rather than talking about the problem they talk in a bright optimistic way about the bright optimism of a better future that YOU are part of.

Social proof and the bandwagon effect.
Goes almost without saying. The participatory element of the campaign may seem like 101 but again, take an existing behaviour that's easy and natural for people to do. And let them see each other in order that they can copy each other.

And finally, also perhaps one of the under-exploited yet often the most effective, tactics in advertising the underdog effect.

Goliath (in the form of the big two supermarkets) being taken on by littkle David (Thankyou Water).

It's a universal insight that everyone loves and self-identifies with the underdog. The little guy sticking to the man.

Suffice to say we are loving this campaign, not least in a nerdy behavioural economics way, we wish it every success and will have our eyes peeled in Coles.

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