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The Principle of Scarcity

The Principle of Scarcity

The Principle of Scarcity

 Online advertisement that utilizes the principle of scarcity 

Starbucks Holiday Beverages and festive food

The Starbucks Christmas Holiday Frappuccino beverages come for a specific period – only once a year during the Christmas holidays (Starbucks 2020). Customers always enjoy it while it lasts whenever it reaches its outlets. The principle of scarcity theocratizes that goods are perceived of high value when limited. Given that Christmas only happens once a year, buyers perceive it as of great value and because the limited period offered creates a sense of urgency. Customers compete for a few days to avoid missing out. The seasonality aspects make Starbucks’ new Christmas Tree Frappuccino special. It wouldn’t generate as much hype if offered all year round. It falls under the law of scarcity because of its seasonality, sale, and exclusiveness. Also, pushing many reminders elicit FOMO among consumers due to the limited quantity and period. Only a few people wouldn’t care much, even if it were sold all year round.

Starbucks Holiday Beverages

 A type of sign, advertisement etc., in a local business that uses the principle of scarcity to get you to do something or buy something

A local tour and travel company announces the sale of tickets to road trips that last three consecutive days with the phrase “hurry – limited quantities”. The agency puts a deadline for interested travellers to purchase the limited and exclusive offer. Buyers attach high value to rare items based on the principle of scarcity. The period creates an element of urgency among buyers. It does well to indicate the few slots available, and most people can see the speciality aspect. The tactic falls under the principle of scarcity because it creates the element of scarcity – limited time and quantity. We witness a buzz and rush by people to buy concert tickets to avoid missing out. The company may then decide to extend the deadline according to the sales target and get others to purchase the ticket to avoid missing out for the second time. Based on Mukherjee & Lee (2016), scarcity appeals are more effective when consumers have high expectations. This tactic works because consumers perceive the service as up for grabs.

An example from your own life where a person tried to convince you to take action utilizing the principle of scarcity 

An invent organizing company sold tickets to a concert movie that had just been premiered on our television screens. It posted its tickets online with the caption ‘hurry’, giving the impression that few available tickets remained for the concert. The social media account also had good reviews and ratings that offered social proof. The concert tickets were priced according to categories from regular to very important persons. I went for the early bird regular ticket. This example falls under the scarcity principle because the number tactic – only 100 left created the urgency among buyers to hurry up to avoid missing out on the few slots. The site also indicated many people viewing the offer, so potential buyers act even faster. Knowing what I know now, I would look at the same situation differently if it were to happen now.


Mukherjee, A., & Lee, S. Y. (2016). Scarcity appeals in advertising: the moderating role of expectation of scarcity. Journal of Advertising, 45(2), 256-268.

Starbucks. (2020). Cosy on in with Starbucks holiday beverages and festive food. Starbucks Stories. Retrieved April 17, 2023, from on-in-with-Starbucks-holiday-beverages-and-festive-food/


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Respond to the following questions

  1. Find an online advertisement that utilizes the principle of scarcity to prompt you to do something (make a purchase, sign a petition, etc.). The advertisement can be from your normal web browsing, social media, or email. If you can, attach a screenshot below. In at least 1 paragraph, describe why it falls under the law of scarcity and why you did or did not choose to do what the advertisement wanted you to do.

    The Principle of Scarcity

    The Principle of Scarcity

  2. Next, find some type of sign, advertisement, etc., in a local business that uses the principle of scarcity to get you to do something or buy something. You can even use an example from your workplace if you wish. Do not post a picture in this section. In at least 1 paragraph, describe why your example falls under the principle of scarcity and if you witnessed anyone’s increased interest in it (including your own) as a result.
  3. Now, think of an example from your own life where a person tried to convince you to take action utilizing the principle of scarcity. It can be a friend, family member, coworker, boss, etc. In at least 1 paragraph, describe why your example falls under the principle of scarcity and indicate whether they were able to convince you or not. Knowing what you know now, would you look at the situation differently if it was to happen again?


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