The Ikea effect for cakes


Games, flat-pack furniture and cakes: how behavioural economics could help

In the 1950s General Mills ran into problems selling its Betty Crocker instant cake mix. Nobody wanted it. The cake tasted good but the “just add water” approach was a little too easy. “They would take this powder and they would put it in a box and they would ask housewives to basically pour it in, stir some water in it, mix it, put it in the oven and voila! you had cake,” behavioural economist Dan Ariely explains in one of his highly subscribed Ted Talks. “But it turns out they were very unpopular. What they figured out was that there was not enough effort involved. It was so easy that nobody could serve cake to their guests and say ‘here is my cake’. ….[READ]

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