My design schooling and career in advertising taught me about our psychological reactions to color, shape, branding, pricing and a bunch of other things that influence our purchasing habits. Despite that, I’m just as susceptible to manipulation as anyone. I prefer products in attractive packaging. I’m wary of lesser brands. Even though I know better.
So, the other day I was shopping in a discount grocery that specializes in overstock items, dented cans, crushed packages, and such. There on the shelf, sort of alone, was a can of chili. I hadn’t been looking for chili. To me, most of it tastes like mud with a metallic aftertaste. But this can had three things going for it. It didn’t have beans, it had a handy pull tab top, and it was only 75¢. Hmmm, I had some leftover sausage I could add to it. But it was a brand I’d never heard of. And the label wasn’t very appealing, except for the price sticker. What the heck. If I wanted stylish I wouldn’t be shopping here. And I’m not obliged to eat it all if I don’t like it.
And… it was pretty good. Some actual flavor and no metallic aftertaste. Adding the sausage made it even better. And the part of my brain that knew better said, “See.”