Although we are always attracted by something new, we sometimes try something old to enjoy its authenticity. For instance, when a restaurant places an nostalgic vintage signboard outside or when it serves dishes in an ugly pot, we infer that the restaurant must have been loved by many people previously. This “old is good” intuition is so strong that it can even distort the quality of the dish.
I recently visited an approximately 15-year old restaurant and ordered a fish soup for two. It was served in a pot that was all wrinkled up. Although this fish soup was not delicious, I enjoyed it simply because the pot of the soup looked old.
Despite the popularity and high quality of machine-made products, handmade products have not disappeared, even in product categories in which machinal production is common. The authors present the first systematic set of studies exploring whether and how stated production mode (handmade vs. machine-made) affects product attractiveness. Four studies provide evidence for the existence of a positive handmade effect on product attractiveness. This effect is, to an important extent, driven by perceptions that handmade products symbolically “contain love.” The authors validate this love account by controlling for alternative value drivers of handmade production (effort, product quality, uniqueness, authenticity, and pride). The handmade effect is moderated by two factors that affect the value of love. Specifically, consumers indicate stronger purchase intentions for handmade than machine-made products when buying gifts for their loved ones but not for more distant gift recipients, and they pay more for handmade gifts when purchased to convey love than simply to acquire the best-performing product.