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Understanding the semantic associations driven by a given product is a key factor for developing effective marketing strategies, but a challenge for marketing research. Here we propose an instrument, based on an indirect behavioral measure, that is sensitive to both implicit and explicit semantic associations. We validate the effectiveness of this test in a series of experiments designed to investigate the association between packaging and specific brand attributes. Participants made speeded discrimination responses to a series of attributes and bottles of mouthwash (Experiment 1). The bottle and attribute assigned to each response key were hypothesized to be congruent in certain blocks of trials and incongruent in others. The results, showing a significant congruency effect, highlight the existence of an association between the bottle of Listerine mouthwash and the attribute "powerful" and between the bottle of Scope mouthwash and the attribute "gentle" A similar congruency effect was observed in Experiment 2 when another group of participants were presented with the silhouette of the bottles or the brand names and the same attributes as in Experiment 1. These results are discussed in terms the utility of this compatibility task in helping sensory marketers/packaging designers to discriminate between a small range of different packaging solutions. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Food Quality and Preference

Publication Date





17 - 23