OPINION4 August 2016

Uncertainty premium

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Behavioural economics Impact Leisure & Arts Opinion Retail UK

Rory Sutherland’s latest opinion looks at the illusion of choice.

Rory Pic

recently met Joel and Marikay Raphaelson in Chicago. Both were copywriters working for David Ogilvy in the 1960s, and he was co-author, with Kenneth Roman, of Writing that Works – still the best guide to good business English, and still in print. Together the couple helped found the Ogilvy & Mather office in Marikay’s native Chicago. Joel, a New Yorker, is the son of Samson Raphaelson, once a copywriter himself, but later the screenwriter for films including The Jazz Singer, Heaven Can Wait and Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion

We ate at Gibson’s Steakhouse at the DoubleTree Hotel near O’Hare, as I had only landed at 6.45, and it was characteristic of the couple to choose what must be the only great restaurant at an airport hotel. 

During our conversation, we discussed Joel’s 50-year-old theory about brand preference, which – most simply expressed – is: “People do not choose Brand A over Brand B because they think Brand ...