Marketers love you to compare.
Imagine you have invented a new gadget and put it into the shops at $279. As it is a completely new product, there is nothing to compare it with. How can anyone judge whether that is a good price or not? The answer is, they cannot.
This is the problem Williams-Sonoma had when they produced a bread maker and tried to sell it for $279. It wasn’t selling well because people couldn’t tell if that was a good price or not. To solve this problem the company introduced another bread maker. This one had more controls and could do a little more, but was priced much higher at $429. Now people had something with which to compare. The first bread maker was $150 cheaper. Sure, it wasn’t quite as flashy, but it made bread. $279 now seemed like a good price and the product started selling much better.
Imagine now that you are in a restaurant and you see the lobster thermidor, their flagship dish, costs $120. You may rule that out straight away as far too expensive. You then see their fillet steak is $60. That is far cheaper and you may be tempted to choose that. Perhaps, if you had not seen how expensive the lobster was, you may have considered $60 to be too steep for a cut of beef.
You are powerless against your minds determination to compare. The menu has set an anchor of $120 for the lobster, and against that the beef, which actually is still expensive, appears good value.