Making a meal of behavioural economics

Making a meal of behavioural economics

How do you get shoppers to the food court earlier?

That was the challenge posed to ad agency Ogilvy and their partner Kinetic in the UK.

You see, shoppers would happily visit the food court for lunch but not prior to midday, which meant food vendors were being slammed during the peak but left to their own devices beforehand.

The problem was one of stigma. It just didn’t seem right to eat so early.

So how did the agencies increase traffic to the food court by 75%?

A poster.

Or actually, two posters.

The first carried an image of woman eating a burger with the line “Who says lunch has to be after 12?” That improved traffic by 25%.

Why did it work? It forced people to question the convention that lunch was after 12, inferring that it was socially acceptable to no longer conform.

The second carried the same copy but instead of a single person, showed a group of people. By dialing up the social proof by inferring that many people ate before midday, foot traffic grew by 75%.

Pretty impressive results from a simple poster, right?


But, of course, it’s not just a simple poster, it’s the behavioural strategies embedded in the poster – its copy, its design.

And that’s the beauty of behavioural economics., instead of guessing what you should have on a poster you have a framework of behavioural hot buttons to draw on.

For more on this example check out

Bri Williams runs People Patterns, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues.










Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments