BOGO-nomics: 'Buy One, Get One Free'

Everyone wants free stuff. It doesn't matter what the consequences of getting that would be, if it's "free" we'll kick, scratch, or even kill for that gratuitous item. But the thing is, the psychology behind it is completely irrational whereas the economics of "free" deals are actually as detrimental to the consumer as it is profitable to the retailer. But retailers and marketers know this and so they prey on our hapless desire to get "free" stuff for their own gain. What makes the label "free" so appealing to consumers is just the fact that we think it wouldn't cost us anything, but in reality, we don't exactly get what we bargained for.

When confronted with a purchasing choice, we typically run a quick internal cost-benefit analysis, weighing potential satisfaction/joy against price.
But Ariely concluded that when the word ‘free’ is introduced, it not only decreases the cost but makes us believe the benefits of the free item are higher. Suddenly, that mediocre Hershey’s Kiss is the finest chocolate known to mankind.
As a result, we fall victim to the zero price effect, a phenomenon whereby our demand for an item dramatically increases when it is free.

(Image credit: Zachary Crockett/The Hustle)

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Well - I'm not going to argue with you because you're deterministic and with that view, all your points are valid and logical.

Outside of that and from a marketing perspective, "Free" should be a brightly lit, flashing red warning sign. Works for me because as they say - there's no such thing as a free lunch. . .
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Some such effects get subtle or down right scary once used in marketing, especially ones that still work when you're fully aware of the effect. I wonder if these researchers still go out of their way for free food/coffee even when it isn't worth the time (a common occurrence I still miss from working at a university).
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Which is the kind of consumer behavior that retailers are taking advantage of. Essentially, the extra "free" stuff that comes with the BOGO deal is low quality, near-expiration, or in some cases, surpluses. Of course, as consumers, we would jump at the opportunity to buy something at a lower price than the SRP, but as Funky Freya mentioned, caveat emptor.
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BOGO sales items at my Publix market helps me stock up on things I used a lot. I look at is as "at no extra cost" to me, or I divide the cost in 2 and think of it at 2 for that price.
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