Sounds crazy doesn't it but research by Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational says:
The silver medallist is disappointed because the natural comparison is with the winner of the gold medal.
The bronze medallist is delighted because the natural comparison is with the fourth placed and the people further behind and feels delighted to have won a medal.
There is an excellent 45 minute interview with Dan Ariely on the Rich Schefren blog which can be downloaded here.
It gives plenty of examples about how this can be used for the marketers advantage.
I have talked about this one before but if you offer a lower priced item and a higher priced item, more people will choose the lower priced product.
Add a third even more expensive product and suddenly, the value comparison is raised and more people start selecting the middle item.
It really is a great interview and it's free to download without any sign-up.
You can also lean more from Dan Ariely's website and even volunteer to take part in future experiments and as an incentive receive the inside track on the results. I have signed up and this looks to be another book I will be buying.
As always with effective marketing to the emotions and the unconscious minds and any form of mind control, it can be used for good to help people make the right decision for them (remember Jay Abraham's saying that "people are silently begging to be led") or manipulated into purchasing self-serving offers from the marketer.
As Mark Joyner decided when he re-released his book Mind Control Marketing, the best way to protect yourself is to know about these techniques so that you can be aware of when they may be carrying an inappropriate weight of influence.
Here are some of Dan Ariely's videos which help explain the concepts of Predictably Irrational.
Video 1 - Introduction - experiments in pain
Video 2 - Truth about relativity
Fascinating and I will be adding the extra videos but I must press on.