Mimicry Can Pay-Off (04-20-22)

Van Kerckhove and teammates probed how form influences impressions made.  Their work “proposes surface mimicry—that is, designing a product to visually resemble another product—as an effective intervention to communicate property information to consumers. Specifically, it advances the notion that exposure to surface mimicry primes property mapping, a thinking style that leads consumers to transfer property information from one product onto another. To this end, three studies show that exposure to a target food product (e.g., kiwifruit) mimicking visual characteristics of another, modifier food product (e.g., popsicle) induces a transfer of attribute values of the modifier onto the target product for salient, alignable attributes on which the products differ (e.g., tastiness). . . . the effect is shown to persist, but it attenuates [reduces] when the difference in belief(s) about the target and mimicked product is substantial (e.g., the taste expectations for Brussels sprouts and popsicles).”

Anneleen Van Kerckhove, Caroline De Bondt, and Maggie Geuens.  “Products in Disguise:  Communicating Product Benefits with Surface Mimicry.”  Journal of Consumer Research, in press, ucac015, https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucac015