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Research shows more wine labels feature animals for a reason

Look around the wine shelves and you’ll find that animals on wine labels are becoming pretty common. In fact, according to market research firm, AC Nielsen, nearly one in five table-wine brands introduced in the past three years features an animal on the label. This goes against traditional brand research, which argues that logos should be highly relevant to the product they represent in order to be successful. But apparently the marketing people have got it right because new research shows that, as consumers, we have an easier time processing images when we are already ‘primed’ – that is, if we have already thought about the image earlier in an unrelated context or if we already associate the logo with something in our personal lives.

As part of the study which proved this to be the case, researchers Aparna Labroo of the University of Chicago, Ravi Dhar of Yale University and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan had participants doing a word jumble, either searching for words related to dogs or cats. They then participated in an ostensibly unrelated study where they were asked to rate a series of products, including batteries and dog shampoo. Those who had done the word jumble relating to dogs rated the dog shampoo higher, on average, than those who’d done the cat-related jumble.

The American researchers said that, ‘Whereas common branding wisdom suggests that identifiers should be strongly associated with the product category, our findings suggest that it may be beneficial to choose visual identifiers that consumers strongly associate with themselves.’

Whether we really associate strongly with creatures like porcupines and geckos is a moot point but they do make for attractive labels.