In Research for academia, Work in progress

Promotional favors are an increasingly popular but seldom researched form of price promotion where the receipt of the saving by consumers depends on an action on their part that is unrelated to the content of the purchase, such as completing a questionnaire or making a referral. This paper shows that the tactic can backfire, in the sense that consumers choose cheaper or fewer options—they spend less—than they would in response to a standard (unconditional) discount. We document this effect across six experiments. Experiment 1 is a field test. Experiments 2 to 6 replicate the result in more controlled settings, trace it to a process of psychological reactance, contrast promotional favors to traditional purchase requirements, and address plausible alternative explanations. Finally, we review the contributions of our work and propose avenues for future research.