The ‘But it’s PINK!’ syndrome, or how in control are we of our purchases?


I’m an impressionable consumer AND a woman, so not a good combination to start with. And with the risk of offending any emancipated and self-respecting feminist out there, I will say – I am impressed by flashy things. Now, I don’t necessarily mean the materialist in me is struggling to break free, it’s more about the flashy, exciting, colorful marketing campaigns companies deploy to suck customers in. And sadly enough, they work brilliantly!

So how much of the decision-making process of a purchase is truly controlled by you – the consumer?

If I need a new computer, which is considered a high-engagement product, I would go online, possibly compare features of different brands and variations, rationally choose the best option, compare prices on the market and then off I am to get my new gadget! Now, plenty of you would do that by the click of a button, but I am an old-fashioned kinda gal, I want to see the product, get a feel for it, then buy it. So I get in my car and happily drive off into the sunset, with the tingling sensation of excitement for what is to come.

I arrive at the store, I immediately ask where I can find my desired model/brand and start walking towards the isle where it’s located. Now, that’s when all the trouble starts. I pass several overly polite staff members, trying to convince me to get a new fridge/ kitchen appliance/ phone, but I stand my ground. Then I pass the isle with the ‘50% OFF’ items… this is getting trickier… However, I hold my breath and keep stomping to my destination. I arrive at the isle with all PCs, tablets, etc. I can almost taste victory….and I see this beautifully designed laptop with a steel glow…and they have it in PINK!  That’s it, all my research went down the drain!

ImageI did the creepy walk-by a couple of times, admiring it from distance. Then the rational little nerd in me, started convincing me I didn’t need THIS particular model, I could do just fine with a cheaper version. But it was too late, I was already dragging my feet towards the gadget, longing to touch it, to run my fingers through its slick metal cover.

All the cardboard promotional posters and demonstration videos on nearby screens didn’t help my case either. I was a gullible little fish, quick to get on the hook. It wasn’t until almost at the cashier, when I came to my senses and left the pink laptop behind, quickly running outside to catch some air and clear my head.

Am I proud of my behavior? – NO. Would have I gotten the laptop if I didn’t know better (Consumer Psychology being my true passion)? – probably. So truly, how much of the decision making process prior to a purchase can we control? When does emotion completely blind all previously established rational? And most importantly, can we learn not to give in to the marketing messages companies constantly throw in our faces?

Marketers all over the world know one simple rule – the consumer is an emotional creature. We might convince ourselves that we’ve made a rational decision, but there are so many factors that come at play when we buy, like peer pressure, store environment, interactions with friendly ‘advisers’, Point Of Sale (PoS) marketing materials and many…many more.

So next time you find yourself in a store, with the instant desire to purchase the first thing that pops in front of your eyes, remind yourself of all the enablers you are surrounded by. Think really hard – do you truly want to spend your money on this, or has one of us big, bad marketers got you, and excuse my French, by the balls?  Yeah, that’s what I though.


Teddy T


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