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Jealousy as a Trigger to Unique Product Preferences

Relevant topics Archive, Strategy

  • Neuromarketing Principle:
    Jealousy in private life can hover to a more general goal concept.
  • Application:
    Create a jealousy-inducing environment for your attention-grabbing products and promotion.
  • When looking at neuromarketing, a lot of emotions have been examined. One that may have been underexposed, is jealousy. Until now! A recent manuscript by Huang, Dong & Wyer Jr (2016) elaborates the role of jealousy in product preference. I bet you have encountered jealousy at least once in life, think about your partner having an intimate conversation with a man or woman you don’t know. Jealousy is an emotion that is encountered quite a lot in everyday life, and after reading this, you as a marketeer, can use this specific emotion to your advantage.

    Lost attention triggers attention seeking in general

    Jealousy is the perception that one’s position in a social relationship is usurped by another person. It gives rise to the feeling of lost attention and it elicits behavior which is aimed at regaining that attention, either positive or negative. Strategies to reach that goal include aggression, publicly showing affection, enhancing one’s own attractiveness, or taking on attributes of the perceived rival.  

    Goal concepts of behavior exist in different layers of generality. Several situation-specific goals may be associated with the same general goal concept and thus connect to a sort of ‘greater good’-goal. If one situation-specific goal is activated (like getting attention from partner), a more general concept of getting attention may be activated and stimulate to seek attention in unrelated events. For example in buying behavior.

    How jealousy alternates product preferences

    Jealousy increases consumers’ evaluation of attention-grabbing products. In the current research, the participants did a consumption choice task in which they imagined that they were shopping online. In comparison with control groups expressing neutral emotions and groups with emotions closely related to jealousy, like envy and powerlessness, the jealous group had different product preferences. For example, they preferred bigger and more conspicuous brand-logo’s, brighter colors and they were more likely to wear unique sunglasses to a formal party, which was considered inappropriate. Remarkable is that when they had to buy something for their private usage (i.e. a bedroom light), there was no difference in product preference between jealousy or control-condition. But when they had to buy a lamp for the office, they suddenly preferred the brightly colored attention-grabbing lamp.

     So if you want to sell an unique, brightly colored, attention-grabbing product which carries a conspicuous brand-logo, you should create an environment in which jealousy is evoked. For example, you can show your television commercials in the context of certain sit-comes in which jealousy is a big theme or arrange your shop window or print advertisements in a way that reminds the consumer of being ignored in a social situation.


    Your increasing sales will make your competitors jealous…

     How to use jealousy?

    • Create an environment that evokes jealousy
    • Make sure your products are attention-grabbing
    • And make sure the promotion is salient as well
  • Jealousy as a Trigger to Unique Product Preferences
  • Reference:

    Huang, X. I., Dong, P., & Wyer Jr, R. S. (2017). Competing for attention: The effects of jealousy on preference for attention-grabbing products. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 27(2), 171-181.


    Further Reading

    • How to use sensory marketing tactics to create irresistible brands

      How to use sensory marketing tactics to create irresistible brands

      In today’s day and age, the most successful brands are the ones that deliver feelings and emotions. By stimulating senses (like sight, hearing, taste), emotions will be delivered and learning will be stimulated. This is very effective, because our senses are directly linked to the limbic part of our brain that is responsible for memories, feelings, pleasure and emotions.

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