the power of placebo in branding

In pharmaceutical testing, effectiveness of drugs is determined by using two groups of subjects. One group is given the actual drug (experimental group), and the other group called control group, is given a fake drug called “placebo” (most likely flour tablet or other inert materials containing no active ingredient). No matter how effective the actual drug is, the effect of placebo, in many cases, has been reported to be as high as 20%. That means, 20% of subjects taking that pill believing that they are taking medication (associated thinking) actually would show signs in their body that reflect the effects of actual drug (results from conviction)!

This broad relationship between “association” and “conviction” has been extended to branding as well. How about a soap calling itself toilet soap would compare with a soap that is termed as beauty soap supported by storytelling by movie stars? Even though their technical formulation would be similar, the latter one would have “placebo” effect in the minds of users. Next time you wash your hands, think about it.


About 1mmarketing

Working as Associate Professor, School of Business, United International University, Bangladesh; a North-American graduate, with doctoral studies from UUM, Malaysia; cherishing a wide-view of the world, with multiple interests in culture, people, traveling, and specifically marketing science. I have a colorful and diversified background with a blend of corporate experience, research, consulting, training, public speaking and teaching. I love to write about marketing issues that affect our lives, and talk about its direction that would promote the greatest human welfare.
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2 Responses to the power of placebo in branding

  1. Amina Afroz says:

    Placebo test is a word very familiar in pharma sector.
    Sometimes mental satisfaction is the process of cure and peace.


  2. shawkat rahman says:

    Not related. But, most of the usual shampoo that we use daily are rather unusual. Independent research shows that the molecules of most cleaning agents in shampoos are too large to enter our hair roots and strands. But we feel (sic) cleaner after shampooing ….Strange!

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