Suppose I give you two pens to choose from. One is clearly better than the other. You will, most probably choose the better one. Now what if I tell you that, no matter which pen you choose, you also get 3 extra pens similar to the bad one. Would these free add-ons make you change your mind and choose the less good pen?
Does this sounds like a crazy question to ask? In a magically short and clearly written paper, Ellen Evers and colleagues show that people do in fact fall for this simple trick and change their mind. The paper provides 4 creative experiments that ask “can forming a good set be a source of economic value in and of itself“?
Below, I have illustrated 3 of their experiments.
These experiments show that fitting in a set can modify our preferences over the set’s individual items. This is important because it can be used to create marketing offers by ‘bundling’ a number of inferior similar items (e.g., 2 for 1 offers) together and exploit the “good set” effect that it creates in costumers without having offered any extra value.