Welcome to the fourth in a series of articles explaining the biases, nudges and heuristics influencing consumer behaviour and changing the way we think as marketers and this week's focus is Chunking.

So, what is Behavioural Economics?

The field of behavioural economics blends elements of psychology and economics, and provides some valuable insights into why individuals are not behaving or making decisions in their own best interests.

Every week, we’ll be getting into the nitty gritty of a bias, nudge or heuristic, giving you a bit of insight into what it is and how it’s been applied. This week, it’s Chunking.

What is Chunking?

‘Chunking’ is grouping complex tasks or information into manageable bitesize chunks or sub-tasks to make the information easier to remember or digest.

So, what does that mean?

The chunking theory groups lots of smaller elements in a sequence or process into sections to make it easier to decode and understand. Making an otherwise daunting piece of information more seamless, efficient and straightforward increases how motivated we are to complete tasks. For example, if we were trying to remember a phone number such as 9849523260, we might chunk this into 98 495 232 60.

Classic example of Chunking...

In 1956, Texaco released ads for their Sky Chief gasoline that used the chunking method perfectly. Instead of listing a whole host of reasons to buy their product, they split it out into three easy to digest points: Petrox, Top Octane and 100% Climate Controlled.

Three simple, straightforward and easy to remember steps that not only tie in the product’s USPs, but instantly make the customer think that Texaco’s gasoline is the simple, fuss-free choice.

Who’s using it now?

As social media has surged, our attention span has plummeted. So, a lot of brands and channels have turned to featuring shorter, more concise content that users can absorb quicker.

Proper Tasty, owned by Buzzfeed, serve up a lot of chunking across their social media channels. Anyone with access to Facebook or Instagram has most likely seen one of their snappy, playful, mouth-wateringly good videos pop up on their feed or been sent one over by a friend.

Texaco gasoline ad, Chunking, Behavioural Economics
Texaco Sky Chief gasoline advertisement, 1956

How have they done it?

They film seemingly simple recipes from all over the world without any dialogue or instruction. Just two mystery hands showing viewers exactly what to do, catchy music and writing onscreen about the ingredients. Ranging from 50 seconds to 3 minutes in length, they speed up certain parts to condense the video.

With 5.8M Instagram followers and over 19,000 Facebook followers, Proper Tasty have clearly hit the nail on the head. By creating bitesize chunks that are easier to swallow than what’s on TV cooking programmes, they’re keeping people entertained, engaged and motivated to see the end result.

Proper Tasty, Chunking, Behavioural Economics
Proper Tasty by Buzzfeed


Behavioural Economics has been around since the 60s and their value and relevance in explaining why we make the “mistakes” or choices we make as consumers is compelling.

As an agency, influencing behaviours is core to what we do and applying Behavioural Economics to marketing communications is a natural progression. Find out how we used chunking in our Bradstone brand case study.

If you are interested in understanding more about how we do this get in touch now.

Be sure to check out next week’s post when we’ll delve into another bias or heuristic. And read last week’s Framing effect post here.

By Melissa McPhillips