Nobody is perfect, not even your brand…

Dalibor Šumiga Behavioral marketing/Neuromarketing, Marketing

Look at the two photos below this paragraph;

Which Lino Lada do you prefer?

Remember what choice you made…


Elliot Aronson, the psychologist, recorded an actor answering a series of quiz questions. In the experiment, the actor – knowing in advance what all the correct answers were – answered 92% of the questions correctly. After the quiz, the actor then pretended to spill a cup of coffee over himself. The recording was then played to two groups of students but in different versions. One group saw a version with the spillage included and one without.

The students found the clumsy candidate, who spilled the coffee, more likable.

What picture of Lino Lada did you choose at the beginning?

If you selected the picture no. 2, you belong to the group of 63% of participants who were a part of our experiment and selected the “imperfect” version of Lino Lada. The experiment was conducted on a sample of 5800 subjects and it shows a cognitive bias called the “pratfall effect” because of which we are more inclined to choose persons, objects and brands that are not entirely perfect.

At first, it sounds illogical that we tend to choose something imperfect in the world where aesthetics, symmetry, and beauty are high on the list of priorities. But it actually makes perfect sense that authenticity outweighs perfection exactly because we are aware of the fact that nothing is truly perfect.

For this reason, we tend not to choose anything that is presented as ideal, because it makes us doubt the authenticity. This is certainly one of the reasons why many brands have been turning to micro-influencers lately because they show a higher level of authenticity compared to the “top influencers” who have turned their posts into a very calculated and edited (read: filtered and photoshopped) content.


Let’s assume that your brand has a certain flaw in production or communication.

The pratfall effect can serve as a means of acknowledgment of your brand’s imperfection, communicating this crisis in a likable manner.

Here’s how KFC made it when they ran out of chicken:

The second option is the presentation of your products. Just as we have shown in the example of Lino Lada, try to show your product as your customers will actually see it.

In the tourism industry, as well as in the beauty industry, it is especially important not to overdo it with Photoshop and filters because the disappointment of the customer, after seeing your product live, will cause long-term damage to your brand.

The third option is to turn the shortcomings your brand has, compared to its competition, to your advantage, using copywriting in a smart manner.

Although there are countless examples, my absolute favorite is Avis:

Perhaps your brand is not perfect, but in the world where everyone wants to leave a great impression, one of the best ways to do so is to stand out and be whatever you truly are… Without any filters…