Black and white ads are found to help consumers focus on the product's basic features and decide better than coloured ones, claims a new study.
According to the study by Ohio State University, black-and-white can lead consumers to focus on the abstract, essential, and defining components of a product while color images can draw attention to the concrete, sometimes unimportant and idiosyncratic features of the product.
Companies should carefully consider whether to use black-and-white or color images to promote their products. Black-and-white advertising can get consumers to focus on the basics while color can help advertisers promote specific features that could set their product apart from the competition. Consumers should be aware that colorful, flashy advertising can distract us from thinking about basic product features (a car with high fuel efficiency) and lead us to pay more for products with frivolous or unnecessary features (a car with nice cup holders).
The authors concluded that color had become dominant in marketing because it attracts attention and promotes favorable attitudes. However, there may be times when companies might prefer to use black-and-white advertising. If a product's primary features are superior, companies can successfully promote the product by using black-and-white images. On the other hand, if a product's secondary features are superior, companies should consider using color images to draw attention to these otherwise easily overlooked features.
The study is published in the Journal of Consumer Research.