the placebo effect of brands

The Placebo Effect of Brands is a phenomenon that I have encountered throughout my 20-year career in developing marketing campaigns. At times visible and clear, and at times recognized only in retrospect. This fascinating juxtaposition of marketing and psychology inspired a three- year incredible personal academic journey that has culminated with this dissertation study.

The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that a positive brand perception and affinity can trigger a placebo response that directly impacts participants’ performance in a 50-meter run. This multi-stage experiment included 177 participants, ages 9 to 13 years old, running throughout the study with identical pairs of Nike running shoes—some with visible brand identifiers (“real”), and some with disguised brand identifiers (“knockoff”). The study conclusively demonstrates that participants who ran with the “real” brand expressed high performance expectations and motivation that ultimately created a placebo effect that was manifested by better performance scores. Conversely, participants who continued to run with what they perceived to be the “knockoff” brand, expressed low performance expectations and motivation, and experienced a placebo spillover effect that was manifested by continuously deteriorating performance scores.

…but there is a lot more to it, so please read and I would love to get your feedback and insights.