Journal of Retailing
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 non-monetary in nature, such as completing a questionnaire, posting a review, or making a referral. This paper shows that the tactic can backfire, in the sense that consumers spend less than they would in response to a standard (unconditional) discount. We document this effect across five experiments. Experiment 1 is a field test. Experiments 2 to 5 replicate the result in more controlled settings, trace it to a process of psychological reactance, and address plausible alternative explanations. Finally, we review the contributions of our work and propose avenues for future research.