Improbable products (with mistakes) increase product preferences (research study)

“[…] we find that consumers actually prefer products that were made by mistake to otherwise identical products that were made intentionally.”

– explain the researchers behind a new study to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research. The research team performed a series of experiments which described to participants various mistake-prone scenarios, e.g. one in which a chef who was making lasagna sauce accidentally added two teaspoons of cinnamon to his recipe (rather than cumin). The results showed that the prospective consumers had a preference :

“We find that this preference is driven by the perception that a product made by mistake is more improbable than a product made without a mistake. This perceived improbability increases product uniqueness perceptions and subsequent preference.”

see: Made by Mistake: When Mistakes Increase Product Preference

Note: The illustration shows a test scenario from the study, in which participants were told two stories :

“in the mistake condition, they learned that the artist accidentally dropped his ink pen while drawing the face, marking the cheek. In contrast, in the intention condition, participants read that the artist decided to add a mark on the cheek while drawing the face.”

Bonus Assignment [optional] Do you prefer products that have mistakes in them? Or perhaps you prefer products with no mistakes? If you do have a preference, let us know by commenting below.