Instagram-based priming to nudge drink choices: Subtlety is not the answer

Enola Kay, Eva Kemps, Ivanka Prichard, Marika Tiggemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Instagram-based priming (e.g., subtly incorporating healthy drinks into the background of Instagram images) could potentially nudge healthier consumption behaviours. Given the negative health consequences associated with sugar-sweetened-beverage consumption, two experiments tested the effect of three sets of Instagram-based primes for nudging drink choices from a visual food and drinks display. Participants (18–25 years) were randomly assigned to view a series of Instagram advertising images (for technology, travel, or homeware products) that included a glass containing water (water prime) or cola (soft drink prime), or no drink (control). They then selected an item from the visual display containing snack foods and drinks. In Experiment 1 (n = 493) beverages were subtly incorporated into the priming images; in Experiment 2 (n = 471) beverages were made more prominent. Priming condition did not predict choice in Experiment 1 but did so in Experiment 2, where participants in the soft drink prime condition were significantly more likely to select a drink versus a food, compared to those in the water prime and control conditions. The water prime did not predict choice in either study. A greater percentage of participants noticed the beverage primes in Experiment 2 than in Experiment 1. Overall, it appears that when clearly visible, soft drinks incorporated into Instagram-style images can nudge drink choices. However, a less subtle approach may be needed to effectively encourage healthier drink choices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106337
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jan 2023


  • Drink choices
  • Food choices
  • Instagram
  • Nudging
  • Pictorial priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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