Pursuit twenty four: Branding experiment

This week in my Advertising 480 class I arrived to see four boxes of saltine crackers.

With Premium Saltine Crackers by Nabisco...
Nabisco Original Premium - $2.39 

Zesta Original Saltine Crackers by Keebler...
Zesta (Keebler) - $1.99 (sale, reg. $2.28) 

Krispy Original Saltine Crackers by Sunshine...
Krispy Originals Sunshine - $2.49 

and Food City Premium Saltine Crackers...

Food City Saltines  - $1.49

I must admit that I was unsure of what was in store for my class that day.

Our professor did not say much about what was going to occur during this "experiment", but I was interested to see what was going to come of all these saltine crackers. The only statistical data that was given was the current price of the four products in local stores, and that Food City Saltines are a product of the Food City grocery store chain that is regionally based in and around East Tennessee (hence why I could not find a box of Food City Saltine Crackers on Google images). 

As we were instructed to pull out a piece of paper, our professor asked us to write down which of the four brands of saltine crackers we would choose to eat right then, and why we would choose that brand. Immediately I wrote down Premium Saltine Crackers by Nabisco. I went on to say that I would pick that brand because it is the brand that I grew up eating solely because it is what my parents bought at the grocery store. Other than that, I really had no explanation as to why I would purchase that particular brand. In my mind I suppose I saw Premium Saltine Crackers by Nabisco as being the best quality brand overall. 

After we wrote down our answer to the first question, our professor moved our attention to a table where four individual packages of the saltine crackers were residing. Each package was labeled with a letter A through D. We were not aware of which brand correlated to which lettered package. She instructed us to take one cracker from each package while remembering which cracker went with which letter. We were then to sample each cracker and ultimately write down which cracker, A through D, was the one that we liked the best and why. I was torn between letters C and D. I absolutely despised letter A. 

Having sampled all four crackers and written our opinions down, our professor then went on to announce which cracker went with which brand. 

To my surprise, cracker A was the Premium Saltine Cracker by Nabisco. This was the cracker that I had barely even taken a nibble out of while I had finished both C and D crackers. 

I was dumbfounded as to why I had hated the cracker that I had most adamantly declared to be the one that I would choose no less than five minutes prior to taste testing these four crackers.

I then go on to find that cracker C was the Food City Saltine Cracker. Although it was not indicated on my paper prior to sampling the crackers, this was the cracker that I felt I was least likely to purchase because it was the most inexpensive brand to purchase and the grocery stores that Food City saltine crackers are sold in are just in a regional area (feeling that it would be the least appealing one to eat).

Ultimately our class as a whole realized that the brand of saltines they would "choose" to eat was not the one they actually liked the best. We were left to think about how much branding and our personal/emotional feelings about products influence our decisions. Also, how our rational decisions, such as doing this blind taste test, for the majority, did not match up with our emotional decisions. 

I know that this was a long post, but I left this class very curious about the whole idea of branding, emotional feelings, and how it affects our purchasing decisions.

Have you ever thought about how branding and emotional decisions affect your day-to-day purchases?

Following my pursuits,


Special thanks to:
Dr. Hoy

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