Tag Archives: Wine

People need vocabulary to develop taste

Barry Schwartz argues in his book, the Paradox of Choice, that increasing choices does not make us happy. Instead, reducing choices boosts sales and giving more options lowers choices.

Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically. —quoted from Ch.5, The Paradox of Choice, 2004

Then, does giving more choices enhance the enjoyment choosers experience? It may not be, either. I had a similar experience at the cheese section of the Annam Gourmet at Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. It provided a wide variety of cheeses. Therefore, spent a significant amount of time in carefully comparing multiple cheeses and eventually choosing one. When I tasted the selected cheese, unfortunately, I was confused which one to choose because I spent too much time on thinking about several cheeses.

Then, what could marketers do to help people enjoy their experience? One suggestion is that when customers experience the option, they are reminded which one was chosen. For instance, if the option name is shown, customers will be able to keep focused on it.

Nekkid Wings is a chicken wing restaurant in Seoul, Korea. Customers select one out of twelve flavors for a bucket of five wings. Some flavors are safe (e.g., classic buffalo) and others are risky (e.g., parmesan garlic). Most customers order multiple buckets and try safe and risky flavors together. The flavor names printed on the paper help customers focus on which flavor they are testing.

West, P. M., Brown, C. L., & Hoch, S. J. (1996). Consumption Vocabulary and Preference Formation. Journal of Consumer Research, 23(2), 120–135.

Consumers’ understanding of their own preferences can be aided by a “consumption vocabulary”—a taxonomy or framework that facilitates identifying the relation between a product’s features and one’s evaluation of the product. In the absence of such a vocabulary, consumers’ understanding of their own preferences will require more extensive experience and may never fully develop. The effect of such a vocabulary is tested in two experiments in which subjects provided with a vocabulary (1) exhibit better-defined and more consistent preferences than control subjects, (2) show improved cue discovery, and (3) show learning (i.e., increases in consistency over time). All results hold regardless of the functional form of the model used to assess subjects’ preference formation.

Traffic light labels help us drink less wine

People often do things while drunk that they regret when they sober up. Opening expensive wines is one of them. In order to solve this problem and, more academically speaking, to overcome the hot-cold empathy gap (proposed by George Loewenstein), I adopted traffic light system.

I place red sticky notes on the definitely expensive wines that I should NOT open while drunk. Yellow sticky notes go for the relatively expensive wines that I stop and, hopefully, think once more while drunk. Daily wines have no sticky notes. Thanks to this simple traffic light system, I regret less in the morning. 🙂

DML_Wine label

Blue iced tea is popular

20130731_Ice tea @ Seoul

Color determines food judgment. According to Hoegg and Alba (2007), for instance, the brightness of an orange juice affects people’s taste discrimination more strongly than its brand name (e.g., Tropicana or Winn-Dixie) or its price information. Food judgment is probably influenced by the hue and saturation of the food as well.

Recently, I find some stores selling blue-colored iced tea. This unexpected color may attract significant attention among those who do not drink teas or who is visually attentive such as kids. However, most adults around me infer it as a poor-quality fake beverage because, they believe, tea is supposed to be orange rust or brown regardless of its temperature. This suggests that changing the color of a given product enables designers and marketers to pursue a new market by sacrificing their traditional market.

Surprisingly, there exists a green wine called Vinho Verde in the world! 🙂