We probably like to think that we're too smart to be seduced by such "branding," but we aren't. If you ask test participants in a study to explain their preferences in music or art, they'll come up with some account based on the qualities of the pieces themselves. Yet several studies have demonstrated that "familiarity breeds liking." If you play snippets of music for people or show them slides of paintings and vary the number of times they hear or see the music and the art, on the whole people will rate the familiar things more positively than the unfamiliar ones. The people doing the ratings don't know that they like one bit of music more than another <i>because</i> it's more familiar. Nonetheless, when products are essentially equivalent, people go with what's familiar, even if it's only familiar because they know its name from advertising.

source: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, by Barry Schwartz, 54 tags: Advertising, Art, Marketing, Self-awareness, Music