Before Applying Envy as a Tactic, Marketers Might Want to Consider Their Consumers’ Self-Esteem

More confident buyers are fueled by jealousy to purchase new products, for instance

Marketers thought envy could be a useful marketing tactic, but it ended up often having the opposite effect. Getty Images

It’s a strategy that’s as old as advertising itself: Make consumers crave something that others have. In some ads, people watch enviously as a luxury car speeds past, its driver exuding power and success; in others, a couple looks covetingly over their fence toward their neighbor’s greener lawn, their nicer house, their happier kids.

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@UBCSauderSchool Darren Dahl is senior associate dean, faculty, director of the Robert H. Lee Graduate School and BC Innovation Council professor, marketing and behavioral science division at the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business.