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?