Category Archives: Consumer Behaviour

Fear Of Missing Out #FOMO


On a recent episode of Hidden Brain NPR host Shankar Vedantam interviewed a woman who spent a lot of time on Facebook. One of the reasons why she did so is because of #FOMO, the fear of missing out on fun or happiness other people might have.

Is there cash inside?

This morning at Victoria Station in London I saw how brands exploit this fear.

The popular Walkers Crips brand challenged travellers to find money in a given amount of time. The way it works is that a person goes inside the box and is subject to a storm of worthless paper, but among these sheets of paper there might be actual money.

Obviously most people come out without have won anything (I didn’t see any winners while I was there) but a substantial number of people were clamouring to try their luck.

So if you are susceptible to #fomo perhaps you should play the lottery. You never know.

Experience over Product

You can charge more for allow customers to watch you make ice cream.

See how little liquid is required to make a handful of ice cream.

Price: 4.50 euros

Techniques To Create New Games and Toys

Shimpei Takahashi:

Play this game to come up with original ideas

How Brands Help Us Know Who We Are

This is an extract from an article by Wahyd Vannoni published on the PBS Newhour website. It asks whether we can really know who we are without brands.

“All the world’s a stage,” states Shakespeare in “As You Like It.”

But while the monologue continues to describe how man progresses from infanthood to death in seven stages, let me recast Shakespeare’s allegory in our modern consumer-oriented world.

Brands play two fundamental roles in our lives. The most obvious is that they help us make purchasing decisions. Our lives would come to a standstill if, when faced with hundreds of varieties of breakfast cereal, or shampoo or deodorant in a supermarket, we were to evaluate each and every one objectively. This lurking woe is thankfully minimized by our recognizing a familiar brand among multitudes. We have come to trust its packaging, its colors and all of its elements to the extent that we wouldn’t wish any other companion.

Continue reading on PBS.

Comcast Refuses to Cancel an Account

This is how difficult it is to get your cable service disconnected.

This customer rep (yes I realise the irony of the job title) from Comcast frames the issue from “disconnect a service” to “what’s wrong with the service, we can make it better”.

Well worth listening.

Does Money Make People Lie?

“The more money a person makes or has, the less generous, helpful, compassionate, and charitable he is toward other people,” says Paul Piff, a doctoral candidate in social and personality psychology at the University of California, Berkeley [Money Makes People Stingy]

Find below the report by Paul Solman, economic correspondent at PBS Newshour.

How Much is Your Data Worth?

This morning the Financial Times published a free (at least for now) online calculator that allows users to determine how much their personal data is worth.


What is most interesting is to reverse engineer the process by ticking and unticking the options made available.

For instance the calculator states that data brokers already know the following:

  •  Age
  •  Gender
  •  ZIP code
  •  Ethnicity
  •  Education level

So far, these are worth $0.007.

Unticking any of these will reduce the value to $0.0065…. except for one variable: ethnicity which reduces the value by 71% to $0.002.

This leads me to speculate that ethnicity has a substantial predictive power.

The next question is whether or not you are a millionaire… needless to say, the value more than doubles.

You can find the calculator in the link below.

Financial Times Data Calculator

Is this tool accurate? Well, the best way to check is to ask the pros directly. You may do so from your desktop. If you have a Facebook account for instance, go on the upper left corner and select the wheel-shaped icon to create an advert.


Then enter a website (for instance your own blog).


and then you will be presented with a dashboard of geographic and socio-demographic options to select. The value, (calculated per exposure or per click) will be automatically updated.

In the examples below, I compare the USA as a whole for anyone 13 upwards, versus a more targeted group in the UK.



As you can see, in either case, the value quoted by the financial times is within the min/max values quoted by facebook.

So if we are worth so little, what is the fuss all about? This is probably to do with different valuation approaches; the above is a commercial approach.

As individual, we overwhelmingly think of ourselves as humans with thoughts, feelings and relations that go well beyond the transactional. If we were (or better still, those who love you) were to put a value it would tend to be infinite because no amount of money could replace who we are.