Crossmodal correspondences in product packaging. Assessing color-flavor correspondences for potato chips (crisps).
Piqueras-Fiszman B., Spence C.
We report a study designed to investigate consumers' crossmodal associations between the color of packaging and flavor varieties in crisps (potato chips). This product category was chosen because of the long-established but conflicting color-flavor conventions that exist for the salt and vinegar and cheese and onion flavor varieties in the UK. The use of both implicit and explicit measures of this crossmodal association revealed that consumers responded more slowly, and made more errors, when they had to pair the color and flavor that they implicitly thought of as being "incongruent" with the same response key. Furthermore, clustering consumers by the brand that they normally purchased revealed that the main reason why this pattern of results was observed could be their differing acquaintance with one brand versus another. In addition, when participants tried the two types of crisps from "congruently" and "incongruently" colored packets, some were unable to guess the flavor correctly in the latter case. These strong crossmodal associations did not have a significant effect on participants' hedonic appraisal of the crisps, but did arouse confusion. These results are relevant in terms of R&D, since ascertaining the appropriate color of the packaging across flavor varieties ought normally to help achieve immediate product recognition and consumer satisfaction.