Monday, April 6, 2009

Hot and Cold

Dan Ariely conducted a really interesting study at UC Berkeley a few years back where he attempted to understand how decisions were changed from a "cold state" (rational) to a "hot state" (emotional). One of the most powerful examples of Hot and Cold states is pregnancy.

Women prior to giving birth (cold state) often deny the use of an epidural, but once labor begins (hot state) they ignore their earlier decision and want pain killers - badly.

Dan Ariely argues that these states exist in all sorts of situations: young males for example when asked if they would ever have unprotected sex almost always answer "never!", but statistics have proven (Unwanted pregnancies and STD's) that when these young males are in an aroused state that their cold (rational) state decisions are quickly ignored.

Dan Ariely argues that hot and cold states are based on "the seasonality of the consumers mind" not based on perceptions towards a particular product or category alone.

A product CAN live in both hot and cold states e.g. a frozen fish brand can advertise its exceptional taste in December - a time of year when most consumers eat whatever they want, even expecting to gain weight. In January that same product can speak about its health benefits - when consumers are all thinking about getting back in shape.

Yes consumers are now in charge, but I don't believe most agencies take the time to truly understand WHAT is in charge of consumers.