We like to think we are in complete control of our own choices. However, this is an example that shows how marketers have been quick to learn how to take advantage of those quick judgments our minds take. In doing so, they create the Illusion of Choice.
This was an actual ad from the Economist website. The first offer is just the Internet subscription for $59. The second option is just the print subscription for $125. The third option is a print and Internet subscription for $125.
In studies the most popular of the three choices was the third option, which seems perfectly logical, seems like the best deal of course. Out of 100 students in the study, only 16 students chose Option #1, no one chose option #2, and 84 students chose Option #3.
However, when the study was changed they only offered two choices: The first offer is just the Internet subscription for $59. The second option was a print and Internet subscription for $125.
Would this change their choice when it came to picking an option? This time when offered to another set of students, 68 students chose Option #1, and only 32 students chose Option #2.
So actually presenting us with what at first appears as an irrelevant option like in the first case, customers were influenced and 250% more people chose the more expensive option.