To increase transaction compliance, marketers sometimes temporally reframe the cost of a product from an aggregate one-time expense to a series of small ongoing expenses, often in spite of the fact that the physical payments remain aggregated. This temporal reframing is identified in this article as the “pennies-a-day” (PAD) strategy. A two-step consumer decision-making process of (1) comparison retrieval and (2) transaction evaluation is posited to explain the effectiveness of this strategy. In a series of laboratory studies, general support for PAD effectiveness across a range of product categories and specific support for the proposed two-step model was found. The PAD framing of a target transaction is shown to systematically foster the retrieval and consideration of small ongoing expenses as the standard of comparison, whereas an aggregate framing of that same transaction is shown to foster the retrieval and consideration of large infrequent expenses. This difference in retrieval is shown to significantly influence subsequent transaction evaluation and compliance.
Gourville, J. T. (1998). Pennies-a-day: The effect of temporal reframing on transaction evaluation. Journal of Consumer Research, 24(4), 395-408.