The Latest Neuromarketing Insights

Implied Motion: Why This Simple Packaging Design Technique Grabs Attention and Boosts Sales

Relevant topics Archive, Advertising

  • Neuromarketing Principle:
    The implied motion on product packages increases attention, generates more frequent choices, and implies a fresh and tasty product that increases purchase intention.
  • Application:
    Using implied motion on the packaging and FOP design can be a cost-effective and efficient way to boost in-store sales.
  • Tiffany’s blue box. Apple’s all-white packaging. McDonald’s red happy meal. Consumer behavior is often affected not so much by the product itself as it is by the packaging that the product comes in. Packaging of a product sets high expectations for the product within, as well as provoking positive or negative reactions in the purchasing decision. While many studies have shown the importance of proper packaging of consumer goods, little is known about the use of implied motion - the ability to perceive dynamic elements within a static image (Yu et al., 2022) - until now.

    Let's look into the influence of packaging displaying images with motion on consumers'  behavior!

    Products That Catch The Eye

    In order to ‘catch the consumer’s eye’, any good marketer knows that they must help their product stand out from the competition. That’s not always as easy as it sounds. With advancements in technology, product enhancements, and consumer psychology, it takes more than a flashy design or catchy tagline to make a good first impression. So how do you help your product stand out on shelves that are saturated with options?

    The answer: implied motion. 

    Implied motion is a packing design technique that positively enhances purchase intent and behavior. While much research has focused on the size, shape, color, and in-store placement of products on consumer behavior, implied motion has only just made its way into mainstream literature. That said, motion itself is considered a crucial element to our species survival for thousands of years.

    Detecting motion was a critical element to humans survival and continues to play a major role in the evolution of our species. Whether it's detecting a saber tooth tiger or spotting a speeding car heading your way, motion is a characteristic of being alive. 

    While we might not be fending off any tigers today, we are battling a barrage of marketing messages that demand our attention (and our money). If you’re marketing a product to the masses, you know you are competing with a variety of other messages, products, and attention-seeking elements that make standing out a whole lot harder.

    Why Implied Motion Boosts Attention

    A recent study investigated how implied motion affects consumer behavior and product perception. The first experiment was conducted using an eye-tracking apparatus that aimed to investigate the influence of consumer’s choices and behavior. Participants were positioned in front of a screen showing a product with either no implied motion or implied motion on the FOP design. The eye-tracking device measured the direction and rate of eye movement on the screen. 


    Results indicated that implied motion images engaged the consumer’s attention more than static images and implied motion graphics were chosen by participants more often than static images when asked which they prefer.

    motion shelfs

    Implied motion makes the product appear fresher

    In the second experiment, researchers investigated the role of implied motion on freshness, taste, product attractiveness, and purchase intent. Participants were asked to look at an FOP design for a milk product that was either static or had implied motion incorporated in the design. They were then asked questions related to purchase intention and product quality. 

    Results showed a significant and positive effect on freshness but not tastiness. Although they found tastiness was not directly significant, they found tastiness to be positively impacted by product attractiveness, and freshness indirectly affected the positive perception of product attractiveness. Linear regression showed that purchase intent increased with perceived positive product attractiveness. 

    motion manipulation

    Key Takeaways: Using Implied Motion in Product Packaging

    If you want a cost-effective and efficient way to market your product in a crowded space, consider implied motion to catch your customer’s eye. Remember, implied motion:

    • Increases purchasing intent
    • Grabs a consumer’s attention
    • Invokes a sense of freshness and tastiness when used for food packaging
  • Reference:

    Yu, J., Droulers, O., & Lacoste-Badie, S. (2022). Why display motion on packaging? The effect of implied motion on consumer behavior. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 64, 102840.


    Further Reading

    • How brand stories on packaging influence consumer behavior and purchase intent

      New NeuroMarketing Short Brand Stories

      Once upon a time, our ancestors would gather around a fire to tell stories, sharing their imaginations and lessons with others. Fast-forward to today and we are still sharing stories, but accompanied by smartphones instead of fires.

    • Should You Pack It? How Does the Package Influence Purchase Intention in Natural Products?

      Should You Pack It? How Does the Package Influence Purchase Intention in Natural Products?

      For the past years, an important new factor guides our decisions when buying different products: how sustainable, organic, or natural they are. Although on a large scale we produce and consume a lot of synthetics (foods and drinks, care products, clothes) we crave to get back to the bare essentials. 

      People wish to experience more of the dewy grass and less of the concrete dust. In recent years, we have seen a surge of products and services that harvest the natural, the organic, and the minimal. Those that originate from plants, animals, or humans are considered to be natural (Rozin, 2005).

      Sustainable living is not only a modern lifestyle choice but a necessity we embrace as individuals and as businesses. We are willing to drive further, pay more, and put more effort into buying products that are undisruptive to the environment and our bodies. Well, as much as possible anyway. But just as we are willing to put more effort into acquiring natural products, we are more likely to ignore them if they come in a package. Not only in a store but when we shop online too. Do you want to know why?

    NewNeuroLOGO 500x500 wit NEG

    New insights every month