A paper published in advance in the Journal of Marketing Research finds that signalling effectiveness is a double-edged sword. Termed as the ironic effects of packaging, the experimental study found that while attractive packaging increases initial product sales, it also leads to lesser post-purchase use of the product.
“Consumers become so convinced of the power of a boldly packaged product that they judge they can use less of it,” lead researcher Meng Zhu says. “Conversely, they tend to use more of a product when the packaging lacks strong cues of effectiveness.”
Meng Zhu, Darron M Billeter, and J. Jeffrey Inman (2011). The Double-Edged Sword of Signaling Effectiveness: When Salient Cues Curb Postpurchase Consumption. Journal of Marketing Research. Ahead of Print.