Avoiding the Consistency Trap

When optimizing advertising campaigns, marketers often search for bold, creative solutions to improve performance. Here we'll discuss how slight, almost imperceptible adjustments can make a huge difference.

30 Min. to Apply
Useful for All Industries

What did the research find?

It’s possible to improve a consumer’s preference for a brand, as well as their likelihood of a future purchase simply by changing the position of a logo (e.g. upper-left to lower-right) or product image across multiple exposures to an advertising campaign.

What could cause this behavior?

Advertising is about repetition. The theory is that multiple exposures to an advertisement can serve to increase consumer recall and brand preference. This research identified that the same effect can be strengthened by making slight visual changes instead of merely repeating the same advertisement.

How could you apply this?

This study reinforces the value of experimentation in designing advertising campaigns while highlighting that even small changes can have a meaningful impact on their effectiveness. If consumers are likely to see your advertisements multiple times, this is a low-risk concept to explore further.


Stewart Shapiro and Jesper H. Nielsen. What the Blind Eye Sees: Incidental Change Detection as a Source of Perceptual Fluency. Journal of Consumer Research, April 2013