Big brands today spend a fortune on emotive marketing campaigns and it’s because they know that when it comes to human decision making, emotion trumps reason. But just how do you ensure a product on the shelf reaches the consumer on an emotional level? This was something labelling experts Avery WePrint set out to answer, with an in-depth psychological study on the power of persuasive product labels.

From snacks and food-to-go to jars of cooking sauce, on a crowded shelf, what does a product label need to cut through the noise? Eye-tracking experiments confirmed that bright colours and large labels encourage consumers to stop and look; while bold lines, borders and stripes mean that a label could be viewed 42% more than plainer labels nearby. Once you have a consumer’s attention, the best way to hold it and convert it into a desired outcome (like a purchase or a positive opinion of a brand) is to make the brain think and engage with the product. This can be achieved through emotion, priming, heuristics (helpful decision-making shortcuts) and curiosity.

The full report from Avery WePrint (available at ) delves into the detail of these tools but here are just a few key insights:

  • There is a sudden spike in brain activity when we encounter something which needs to be ‘worked out’. Teaser labels that engage the brain and pose a question can increase response rates by threefold.
  • Humans have a natural tendency to notice anything unexpected, novel or bizarre. So aim to raise eyebrows and challenge conventions.
  • Consumers are prepared to pay more money for products with labels that convey a message of quality, such as business awards and accreditations or simply a high-quality label material.
  • Emotion trumps reason and humans can’t help but pay attention to emotion and the use of an emotive word like ‘love’ or ‘pride’. While an emotive image made people spend 13% longer looking at the product.
  • Use heuristics, these are mental shortcuts the brain uses for quick decision making and they play a key role in purchasing decisions. Tell the brain your product is the best with endorsements, clever use of symbols such as a tick, and careful use of colour. For example, using the colour green communicates the message to ‘go’, ‘proceed’ or ‘choose’

See the full report on the Avery website and put the findings into practice by designing your own persuasive product labels with Avery WePrint at

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