Consumers’ decision making can be reflective of that of a gambler, with regard to their aversion or willingness to take risks. The framing effect can be used to manipulate the consumers’ perceived risks, and trigger preference reversals in consumers. After reading about the framing effect and preference reversals in the text, write a short paper on the topics below.

Topic Requirements:

    • Identify a product that is not a market leader and develop a marketing plan for which the framing effect could be used to encourage consumers to reverse their preferences.
    • Include relevant details of the products, as well as a description of how those could be presented.

Expert Answers

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Framing in psychology refers to changing people's preferences or biases based on the way a question or problem is presented. For example, people in psychological studies have been shown to avoid risk in a positive frame (that is, saving lives) but engage in risks if the frame is negative (that is, people will die or be hurt in some way if a risk is not taken). People regard losses as more significant than gains that are equivalent to the loss.

In the weight-loss industry, Weight Watchers is the market leader, and Jenny Craig is not the market leader. An ad for Jenny Craig that uses the framing effect could emphasize the risks of not joining the program. For example, the first part of the ad could show someone who used Jenny Craig and lost lots of weight, became healthier, and (as these weight-loss programs often emphasize) happier. That person, for example, could be shown getting married or playing with a child. Then, a person could be shown who did not use Jenny Craig. Instead, this person used another weight-loss program and is still not at his or her ideal weight, has health problems, and is afraid to date. The first part of the ad uses positive framing, and the second part of the ad uses negative framing. The second ad could include slogans such as "Don't miss out!" or "You can't afford to miss this chance to join Jenny Craig!" In other words, consumers will be faced with negative outcomes if they don't join. To avoid these outcomes, they will take the risk of switching their preference for other diet plans (or no diet plans at all) and joining Jenny Craig. 

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