DESIRE FOR GLITTER

and why we are obsessed with it...

Glossy, glittery, sparkly and many more words can be related to shiny objects. Whichever you choose, it is no surprise why many brands release shiny products! From a luxury Ferrari car to a Fenty Beauty highlighter even to Louboutin glitter heels, there is always a shiny option of no matter what you are looking for.

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For many years, glossy items have earned a remarkable spot on the market for a good reason. It is simple, WE LOVE GLOSS! Although marketing experts have already discovered this phenomena of attraction to gloss, there is one question mark whether this is a learned bias or an evolutionary outcome. At first sight, it gives an impression of desire for luxury as gloss = luxury = pretty which eventually equals to aesthetics however, scientists don’t agree with such a superficial theory!

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A group of consumer psychologists in Ghent University, Belgium; took this phenomena more seriously as this obsession should have an evolutionary background which in this case, is a reflection of desire for water! To enlighten the psychology behind attraction to shiny objects, matte and glossy blank papers were given to a group of adults and 4 year-olds to investigate their preferences which turned out that glossy ones were well ahead. As 4 year-olds are not capable of associating the concept of luxury and shininess, scientists are convinced that this obsession is not an aesthetic preference but an innate one. In order to link gloss and innate need of water, salty biscuits were served to all participants but afterwards water was only served to half of the group members. As expected, the percentage of choosing the glossy paper was higher in the thirsty group.

This phenomena is pretty common in advertising. Besides shiny packaging and glossy brochures; nowadays, all of the make-up lines have shiny lip glosses and sparkly highlighters which are quite popular. For a night out, the first garments pop up to our minds are the glittery ones. Even tech companies, such as Apple, released shiny phones that magnetize the customers as it is kind of an indicator for wealth. Of course the quality of the product is the key for profit nevertheless, a shiny packaging can significantly increase the possibility of a higher selling rate. So keep in mind that if you want to sell something, make sure it shines!

 


Resources & Images:

Meert, Katrien et al. “Taking A Shine To It: How The Preference For Glossy Stems From An Innate Need For Water”. Journal Of Consumer Psychology, vol 24, no. 2, 2014, pp. 195-206. Wiley, doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2013.12.005.

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