Scarcity Marketing

Neur­omar­ket­ing has recently been look­ing at The Scarcity Effect:

WORCHEL, LEE, AND ADEWOLE (1975) asked people to rate chocol­ate chip cook­ies. They put 10 cook­ies in one jar and two of the same cook­ies in anoth­er jar. The cook­ies from the two-cook­ie jar received high­er ratings—even though the cook­ies were exactly the same! Not only that, but if there were a lot of cook­ies in the jar, and then a short time later most of the cook­ies were gone, the cook­ies that were left received an even high­er rat­ing than cook­ies that were in a jar where the num­ber of cook­ies didn’t change.

In a fol­low-up post they look at the case of Knob Creek whis­key using scarcity in their latest mar­ket­ing cam­paign (after they announced that there’s a chance they “might run out of their sig­na­ture bour­bon”):

If sup­ply is indeed short, why not cut back on advert­ising, save a few bucks, and still sell 100% of your invent­ory?

The answer is brand­ing. Should Knob Creek be known simply as a premi­um bour­bon, or the bour­bon that was so good it became unavail­able? Should the stand­ards used in the cre­ation of Knob Creek be high, or so high that its makers wouldn’t com­prom­ise their man­u­fac­tur­ing and aging pro­cess to make more avail­able?