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Placebo effects of marketing actions: consumers may get what they pay for

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The authors demonstrate that marketing actions, such as pricing, can alter the actual efficacy of products to which they are applied. These placebo effects stem from activation of expectancies about the efficacy of the product, a process that appears to be an unconscious one. In three experiments, the authors show that consumers paying a discounted price for a product (e.g., an energy drink thought to increase mental acuity) can actually end up deriving less benefit from consuming this product (e.g., they are able to solve fewer puzzles) compared to consumers who purchase and consume the exact same product, but pay its regular price. The authors' study consistently supports the role of expectancies in mediating this placebo effect. They conclude by discussing theoretical, managerial and public policy implications of the findings.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://flora.insead.edu/fichiersti_wp/inseadwp2005/2005-29.pdf

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Copyright INSEAD. All rights reserved