Sometimes it really is the small things that matter.
Reducing the choice overload to one of three options.
Letting people know how many items are left to buy.
Priming people to participate.
Chunking up hard to read emails.
Telling people what the most popular choice is.
Painting babies’ faces onto shop shutters.
Our priority is delivering results that really matter
to our clients.
ROI of £257 for every £1 spent.
Improving customer retention rates by a third.
Over 40 million metres run.
47% more responses at no extra cost.
Doubling of sales.
An 18% reduction in anti-social behaviour.
At #ogilvychange we’re proving that behavioural
science can change behaviour for the better, not
by thinking big, but by starting small.
At #ogilvychange, we dare to be trivial.
Twitter: follow us @OgilvyChange
Faced with the rise in free newspapers and now competing
with tablets and apps on the daily commute, The Times
recognised they needed a new business model and help
to sell it.
#ogilvychange were briefed to design new choice
architecture that helped nudge people into buying the
higher priced annual print and tablet subscriptions
to The Times and The Sunday Times.
#ogilvychange developed 4 little nudges that worked
together to increase subscriptions.
The key nudge used the principles of relativity1
to create a psychological discount of £2.
This choice architecture works by capitalising on the
mental shortcuts the brain makes when adding up the
features within the differences between the Digital,
Classic and Ultimate Pack and nudges people to the
right and the higher priced packs.
The total sales of the ‘Ultimate Pack’ were over
double the amount that was forecasted.
The ROI was an astonishing £257 for every £1 spent
on re-engineering the choice architecture.
Sources: News UK 2012
Azar, O.H. (2011). Relative thinking in consumer choice
between differentiated goods and services and its implications
for business strategy. Judgment and Decision Making, 6 (2),
Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1981). The Framing of Decisions
and the Psychology of Choice. Science, 211 (4481), 453-458.
Nudging people to BUY an ‘Ultimate’
subscription to The Times newspaper
For The Times and the Sunday Times, their call centre
is their shop front; the one place they can communicate
with customers person-to-person. However, phone calls
were cut short and opportunities missed because call
centres workers did not speak to people on the right
psychological level; their inner Homer.
The Times’ call centre agents underwent an intensive two
day immersion course with Choice Architects; after the
interactive training they were equipped with principles
of behavioural science to apply selectively to each and
Four key principles were emphasised:
– it is reassuring to know that others are
buying the same pack or having the same problems.
– people are more motivated by what they
could “miss out” on than what they could gain.
Positivity – framing the more boring parts of the
call, e.g. data and terms & conditions, in the best
Simplicity – using language and explaining the packs in
ways the customer could understand.
Analysis revealed that a call using one or more nudges
was three times more likely to be successful than a call
without. A test to determine the statistical significance
of the result gave a 0.0002 p score. This means that the
chance of these results occurring by chance was 1 in 5000.
Sources: News UK 2014
Nolan, J.M., Schultz, P.W., Cialdini, R.B., Goldstein, N.J.
& Griskevicius, V. (2008). Normative Social Influence is
Underdetected. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34,
Tversky, A. & Kahneman, D. (1991). Loss Aversion in Riskless
Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model. The Quarterly Journal of
Economics, 106 (4), 1039-1061.
Making phone calls to The Times
three times more successful with
Public Health England were in the process of developing
a mobile app for their ‘Couch to 5K’ running plan.
The challenge for #ogilvychange was to encourage people
to try it out and continue to use it.
A shortlist of 26 nudges were created to bake
behavioural principles into the app’s choice
architecture and page design.
For example, priming1
occurs when sub-conscious cues
strongly influence behaviour without our awareness. Using
this insight we recommended placing imagery across the
app to nudge users to replicate the pictured activity.
Incentives were used to promote continued use by
establishing a gold star reward mechanism for completion
of each stage. To increase effectiveness of this the goal
was applied, which states the closer we
are to achieving a goal, the more motivated we are to
continue. Users were immediately rewarded with a gold
star for downloading the app, thus making them feel
closer to their end goal and increasing likelihood of
To date the app has inspired users to run over 40 million
Sources: Public Health England 2013
Bargh, J.A., Chen, M., & Burrows, L. (1996). Automaticity of
Social Behavior: Direct Effects of Trait Construct and Stereotype
Activation on Action. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 71 (2), 230-244.
Nunes, J.C., & Drèze, X. (2006). The Endowed Progress Effect:
How Artiﬁcial Advancement Increases Effort. Journal of Consumer
Research, 32 (4), 504-512.
Nudging people off the couch to
START an exercise routine
BT Business wanted to increase sales of their Complete
broadband and phone package without resorting to spending
money on expensive advertising.
#ogilvychange were briefed to review the BT Complete
sign-up journey and make behavioural adjustments to the
email sent to potential new business customers.
After conducting a behavioural e-merchandising analysis
of the existing email content, BT rolled out a split
test of two small behaviourally informed tweaks to the
email copy and layout.
The first copy change applied the principle of social
which states that our subconscious decision-
making is strongly influenced by our perception of
others’ behaviour. We therefore added text to highlight
that thousands of businesses were already using BT
The second applied research which shows that a large
amount of text can be cognitively effortful to decipher
so people choose not to read it. We therefore set
about making the existing email text easier to read by
it up into clearly titled sections.
Altogether 47,000 BT Business customers received the
behaviourally adapted emails. Interestingly, results from
the norming test showed minimal uplift whereas results
the chunking test delivered 47% more responses.
Sources: BT 2012
Schultz, P.W., Nolan, J.M., Cialdini, R.B., Goldstein, N.J.,
& Griskevicius, V. (2007). The Constructive, Destructive, and
Reconstructive Power of Social Norms. Psychological Science, 18
Miller, G.A. (1956). The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus
Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.
Psychological Review, 63 (2), 81-97.
Nudging 47% more businesses to
SIGN-UP to the Complete package
The Good & Proper Tea Co. tasked #ogilvychange with
increasing sales of tea and crumpets from their van
in Kings Cross.
Several nudges were implemented, including ‘Tea of the
day’ recommendations by Emilie, the resident expert on
tea and therefore the best messenger.1
Signs and recent press to demonstrate the company’s
beginnings with Kickstarter, which acts as social proof2
as there were hundreds of backers.
Reducing the number of different types of tea available
on a given day to reduce choice overload3
, making it
easier to choose.
Despite a difficult sales period as the weather got colder,
day-to-day sales were massively influenced by the nudges.
The sales of Ceylon tea doubled with the sign:
“53% of customers yesterday chose Ceylon”.
Sources: Good & Proper Tea 2013
Castledine, G. (1996). Nursing’s image: It is how you use your
stethoscope that counts. British Journal of Nursing, 5 (14), 882-
Herrmann, A. (2011). The impact of mimicry on sales. Journal of
Economic Psychology, 32 (3), 502-514.
Iyengar, S.S., & Lepper, M.R. (2000). When choice is
demotivating: can one desire too much of a good thing? Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 79 (6), 995-1006.
Nudging people to BUY
more Good & Proper Tea
Following the London riots in 2011, the Royal Borough
of Greenwich was still affected by continued crime and
Greenwich Council needed to find a way to stop the
problem minority destroying their own community.
A simple yet powerful intervention was created - the
faces of local babies were spray painted on to the shop
shutters of one street.
This uses the principle of affect1
, as babies’ faces
produce an innate caring response, therefore reducing
As they were local babies, this also creates a greater
sense of community, ownership and therefore social
A year later, police have reported a correlation between
the painting of the shutters and an 18% reduction in
antisocial behaviour in the area. The project is now
being trialled around the world to understand the causal
effects of babies’ faces.
Sources: The Royal Borough of Greenwich 2012
Glocker, M.L., Langleben, D.D., Ruparel, K., Loughead, J.W.,
Gur, R.C., & Sachser, N. (2009). Baby Schema in Infant Faces
Induces Cuteness Perception and Motivation for Caretaking in
Adults. Ethology, 115 (3), 257-263.
Newman, O. (1972). Defensible Space. New York: Macmillan.
STOPPING the rise of anti-social
behaviour using the Power of Cute
The #ogilvychange Team
Rory Sutherland Marina Clement
Dan Bennett Juliet Hodges
Jez Groom Pete Dyson
Rebecca Faulkner Cíosa Garrahan