Context Adds Value 03

Pepsi has often tried to prove that its cola tastes better than Coca Cola. It tried to prove it by conducting blind taste tests which showed people preferred the taste of Pepsi when they didn’t know what they were drinking. Eventually, in 2003, their claim was proven to be a fact when an MRI scan was used to show how the ventral putamen (the part of the brain which processes reward) becomes more active when someone drinks Pepsi than when they drink Coke.


So why does Coke continue to outsell Pepsi?


The study also showed that if the participant was told they were drinking Coke, their ventral putamen lit up even more than when they were drinking Pepsi without knowing what it was. The researcher concluded we attach so much value to the childhood experience of drinking Coke (and the many years of successful Coca Cola advertising that we’ve been subjected to) that our brain attaches extra value to the brand. So much that it overrides our sense of pleasure derived from taste.


My conclusion is, if you are selling an item you will be more successful if you can somehow appeal to the buyer’s positive memories, more than relying only on the superiority of your product.

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