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Brand names act like marketing placebos


  • Moty Amar
  • Dan Ariely
  • Maya Bar-Hillel
  • Ziv Carmon
  • Chezy Ofir


This research illustrates the power of reputation, such as that embodied in brand names, demonstrating that names can enhance objective product efficacy. Study participants facing a glaring light were asked to read printed words as accurately and as quickly as they could, receiving compensation proportional to their performance. Those wearing sunglasses tagged Ray-Ban made fewer errors, yet read more quickly, than those wearing the identical pair of sunglasses when tagged Mango (a less prestigious brand). Similarly, ear-muffs blocked noise more effectively, and chamomile tea improved mental focus more, when otherwise identical target products carried more reputable names.

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  • Moty Amar & Dan Ariely & Maya Bar-Hillel & Ziv Carmon & Chezy Ofir, 2011. "Brand names act like marketing placebos," Discussion Paper Series dp566, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp566

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sergiu Hart, 2004. "A comparison of non-transferable utility values," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 56(2_2), pages 35-46, February.
    2. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 2010. "Bargaining and Cooperation in Strategic Form Games," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(1), pages 7-33, March.
    3. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
    4. Sergiu Hart, 2013. "Adaptive Heuristics," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Simple Adaptive Strategies From Regret-Matching to Uncoupled Dynamics, chapter 11, pages 253-287 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Dhillon, Amrita & Mertens, Jean Francois, 1996. "Perfect Correlated Equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 279-302, February.
    6. Hart, Sergiu & Mas-Colell, Andreu, 1996. "Bargaining and Value," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 357-380, March.
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