Show Two Multiples of the Price Nearby

Something will "feel right" about the price.

Nick Kolenda
Updated on
A promotion of 3 pizzas with 5 toppings for $15

Compare these two pizza advertisements:

A $24 deal for 4 small pizzas with unlimited toppings, along with a $24 deal for 4 small pizzas with 6 toppings

The left ad is economically superior because people have “unlimited” toppings. However, people were more likely to buy the second deal with “6” toppings (King & Janiszewski, 2011).

See the culprit?

It involves multiples of the price.

Pizza ad emphasizing $24 with 4 and 6 in the ad

Your brain stores common arithmetic problems:

Over time, children are drilled on simple problems so that an association develops between operands (e.g., 2 x 6) and results (e.g., 12). These stored associations are called “number facts” (Baroody 1985).

Exposure to two numbers (e.g., 2 and 6) immediately activates the sum (e.g., 8) and product (e.g., 12).

In the pizza ads, the price of $24 seemed better when the ad was showing two multiples (e.g., 6 and 4). Customers misattributed this sensation: Hmm, something feels right. I must want to buy this deal.

When possible, show two multiples of your price:

  • $15: 3-Day Sale for $5 Off
  • $120: Get 4 Weekly 30-Minute Coaching Calls
  • $500: Get 5 Bonus PDFs for Free ($100 Value)

Caveat: Show two — and only two — multiples. If your price is $12, many multiples (e.g., 2, 3, 4, and 6) will weaken the activation of $12.

  • Baroody, A. J. (1985). Mastery of basic number combinations: Internalization of relationships or facts?. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 16(2), 83-98.
  • King, D., & Janiszewski, C. (2011). The sources and consequences of the fluent processing of numbers. Journal of Marketing Research, 48(2), 327-341.