We investigated effectiveness of promoting novel ingredients either with presence or absence positioning – both are common in marketplace (e.g. Secret® deodorant visibly claims “aluminum chlorohydrate” while Crystal® promotes “no aluminum chlorohydrate”). Initial study results show that consumers have more positive evaluations and purchase intentions for absence framing than presence framing and this effect is mediated by protection-related goals. After reviewing the literature in green/sustainable product attributes and regulatory focus, we show that absence-framed ingredients have better consumer evaluations when consumers are in the prevention mindset. Conversely, we show that, when customers are in promotion mindset and looking for a better performance, presence-framing of ingredients seem to have better consumer evaluations. To understand whether fluency with such ingredients are driving the results, we conducted another study where absence-framing of familiar, natural but unusual product ingredients were investigated. The results show that absence-framing effect is prevalent even when ingredients are natural instead of chemical. The research has implications for product development, promotions, labeling and packaging showing the preferences for absence of novel ingredients.
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Ozcan, Tim; Hattat, Ahmet; and Hair, Michael, ""No triclosan ever!": Effects of Absence Framing of Novel Product Ingredients on Consumer Evaluations." (2018). Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings 2018. 10.