The Psychology of my 7 Eleven Pajamas

Last week, 7 Eleven, together with Åkestam Holst, released a branded pajama along with their announcement of a new “Breakfast All Day” offering. It took me less than ten minutes from seeing the campaign, to wearing the pajamas.

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I love my pajamas, but I hate my behaviour. It’s a little surprising because I’d like to consider myself a hyper-aware consumer at this point. I’m a Bachelor’s of psychology and an advertising student, so I have a pretty good understanding of how communication works and its forces of persuasion.

So how did I so effortlessly surrender to this campaign? I don’t think I’ve been to 7 Eleven more than a handful of times, I’m on a student budget, not to mention the fact that I don’t need another pajama. In other words, I am neither in the financial position to “waste” money on this clothing, nor am I a loyal customer to 7 Eleven.

There’s no logic behind my purchase. It was a purely emotion-driven buy, and I think it’s valuable to explain why I believe the campaign worked so well on me. Not only as a justification for my impulsivity, but also to showcase to other brands that active use of psychology could significantly help the development of their next idea.

The scarcity heuristic comes from the idea that the more difficult it is to acquire an item, the more value that item has. The 7 Eleven pajamas are only sold in-store in limited edition, so psychologically we add greater value to items like these.

Using the scarcity effect in idea-development is a way to catalyze quick, emotion-driven purchases. Instead of developing a “always in stock” product line, brands should consider releasing limited products a few times a year to build up anticipation.

Eldorado are doing this perfectly with their new summer collection. With a teaser on their website, they mention a limited collection with a launch date in the not-so-near future, late June. In order to access the online store you need to sign up and receive a password, emphasizing exclusivity. In previous collections, Eldorado has also prioritized existing customers which uses an element of in-group favoritism. This drives existing customers to stay and buy, but it also triggers “FOMO” (Fear of Missing out) in potential customers.

Pajama sales skyrocketed by 143% in 2020 thanks to COVID-19. And here we are, another year, in another casual outfit. One could say that the current state of the world has already primed me to make this purchase.

More importantly, though, my new pajamas will have a lasting effect on my future relationship to 7 Eleven. Waking up in my pajamas means that I will be priming myself every morning to choose 7 Eleven over Pressbyrån (another Swedish convenience store). Thanks to the availability heuristic, 7 Eleven will be readily available in my mind when deciding which corner store to seek out.

After the purchase, I started justifying it. “It’s sustainable material from Europe, it’s cute, I can wear it in other ways than a pajama”… the list goes on. And, ultimately, I found several reasons to love my pajamas, and love 7 Eleven for it.

The reason I’m mentioning this is because every business wants to keep customers coming back, so understanding your consumer post-purchase is just as important as in the pre-purchase phase.

Say, your customer buys your product and starts their post-purchase rationalization, but they can’t find any convincing justification for why they just spent their money on you. They might not come back. Thus, launching a product of poor quality, even though it might sell out, can be detrimental in the long-run. However, quality products that actually enhance your brand’s overall perception is vital for customer retention.

So, in the midst of my post-purchase rationalization, I came to the realization that I might not actually hate my behaviour after all. More so, I genuinely love this campaign because of its effective marketing that triggered my psychological drivers.

Marketing today means marketing to the human in us, and seeing Åkestam Holst understanding cognitive biases when developing campaigns, is a leading example of how applying psychology is important to the success of a brand.

And to that I say, take my money.

Last edited: March 25th 2021