What Good Is a Guideline That People Can’T Remember?: the Benefits of Extreme Simplicity

Rebecca Ratner, University of Maryland, USA
Jason Riis, Harvard University, USA
When consumers make dozens of choices daily with long-term consequences, effective guidelines (e.g., about health) should be particularly sticky. In several studies, we show that extreme simplicity is one way to achieve stickiness. Simpler guidelines were not only much easier to remember, they were also rated as more motivating, albeit based less on "scientific" research. Most importantly, compared to exposure to the more complex Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid guideline, exposure to a simpler guideline resulted in more healthful food choices a full month after exposure.
[ to cite ]:
Rebecca Ratner and Jason Riis (2009) ,"What Good Is a Guideline That People Can’T Remember?: the Benefits of Extreme Simplicity", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 198-201.