Targeting diet products: Why are more independent consumers better at delaying gratification?

Mar 05, 2013

Product benefits that occur later in time are more likely to appeal to more independent consumers than to those who are more group or family oriented, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"More independent consumers think of the future in abstract terms and perceive future events as happening in the more distant future, whereas consumers who are less independent think of the future in concrete terms and perceive future events as happening sooner," write authors Gerri Spassova (Monash University) and Angela Y. Lee (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University).

Perceptions of time are subjective and variable. One day can feel like an eternity, while at other times a day flashes by in an instant. Similarly, a future event can seem really far away, but at other times it's just around the corner.

Our perceptions of time are influenced by whether we view ourselves as independent or more group or family oriented. Consumers who view themselves as independent place high value on self-reliance and , and strive towards being unique, different, and separate from others. In contrast, those who view themselves as less independent see themselves as part of a , and strive toward blending and fitting in.

In one study, consumers were shown advertisements for a Lean Cuisine product. More independent consumers found the ad more persuasive when it was targeted at an individual and its benefits were presented as taking place in the more distant future, while consumers who thought of themselves as less independent found the same ad more persuasive when it was targeted at a family and its benefits were presented as taking place sooner.

" targeted at consumers who see themselves as more independent would be more effective when presented in more abstract terms, with product benefits occurring in the more distant future. But ads targeting who see themselves as less independent would be more effective when framed in more concrete terms, with benefits occurring sooner," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Disadvantaged men more likely to do 'women's work' reveals new study

More information: Gerri Spassova and Angela Y. Lee. "Looking Into the Future: A Match between Self-View and Temporal Distance." Journal of Consumer Research: June 2013.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Early product launches: How will consumers respond?

Apr 19, 2011

A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research explains why consumers often indicate they are willing to pay more for a product that is not yet available—but are reluctant to pay that price when the product is ultima ...

Recommended for you

The psychology of gift-giving and receiving

13 hours ago

Gift exchanges can reveal how people think about others, what they value and enjoy, and how they build and maintain relationships. Researchers are exploring various aspects of gift-giving and receiving, such as how givers ...

Strong neighborhood ties can help reduce gun violence

15 hours ago

The bonds that tie a neighborhood together can help shield community members from gun violence, according to new findings by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dschlink
not rated yet Mar 05, 2013
Interesting, this may in part explain why I find most advertising repellent.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.