Free gas and the psychology of copywriting

Free gas and the psychology of copywriting

It will be the hottest marketing promotion of the summer — until it runs out of gas. Companies of all kinds are giving away tankfuls of free gas as long as you buy something: a new car, hotel room, even Calloway golf clubs. With $4 a gallon fuel prices and $50-75 fill-ups becoming part of our auto-oriented lifestyle, gasoline giveaways are a real attention-getting promotional idea.5.00 for regular coming soon

Expect to see it a lot of them this summer, before they fade away by Labor Day, says a marketing professor at at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

But why bother with gas cards at all? Why not just take $50 off the product price, or give customers the cash as a rebate instead? After all, money is money, right? Shouldn’t consumers be just as excited about a $50 discount as a $50 gas card?

Aha, that’s where the psychology of marketing comes in! Any copywriter worth his thesaurus knows that buying decisions are primarily driven by emotion, not logic, no matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise. Suzanne Shu, a marketing professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, says:

“The more (a) purchase feels discretionary, like staying at a luxury hotel, the more the gas cards have impact because people can use them to justify something they might not do otherwise.”

So if you’re thinking of going down the “free gas” road for your next promotion, just remember those roads are going to get pretty congested. Link

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