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Source: Journal of Marketing Research
Published: October 2011

A Sale on Campbell’s Soup

Circulated: September 30, 2019

To measure the behavior change attributed to a slight change in an advertisement, three supermarkets in Sioux City, Iowa participated in a study. Over multiple days, a sign announcing “Campbell’s Soup Sale — 79¢/can” was mounted behind each display. The signs rotated between ‘Offer limited to 12 cans per person’ and ‘No limit per person’.

The limit of 12 signage increased sales per buyer by 112% compared to the no limit per — from 3.3 cans per buyer to 7.0 cans per buyer.

This phenomena is attributed to 2 factors:

  1. Artificial scarcity: The limited availability of items even though capacity exists to supply them.
  2. Anchoring bias: When individuals use an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments.

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