Nothing says luxury like a nice chill: whether it's champagne on ice, carving through fresh powder at a posh ski resort or maybe even certain weirder luxuries like freezing your body to try and cheat death.
Just think about some of the adjectives we use to describe more desirable objects, from "icy bling" to how we use "cool" basically in place of "I like it."
New research suggests this association is not by accident. We may actually be hard-wired to connect cold temperatures with status and luxury.
A team of English and Japanese investigators conducted a series of experiments and found that when products were tied to cold temperatures they were perceived as higher status, more luxurious and desirable.
The findings have been published online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.
In one experiment, participants held a decorative vase that was either room temperature or chilled in a refrigerator. They were then asked to rate the vase on a number of factors including uniqueness, exclusiveness, expensiveness, sophistication, luxury and desirableness. Those that evaluated the colder vase found it more desirable and thought it conveyed more luxury and status.
The results were similar when the researchers investigated the effect of cold on visual rather than tactile cues. They found an advertisement for a fragrance using a winter scene made it seem more luxurious and desirable than a summer scene.
Another experiment involved luggage marketed in winter and summer scenes, but different groups were asked to evaluate the products based on their ability to impress and command respect while others were asked to consider quality and function instead. When performance was the goal, there was no "cold bump" when it came time to evaluate.
"This suggests that the benefits of cold temperatures do not apply to all categories of products," said study author Rhonda Hadi, an associate professor of marketing at Oxford University. "If consumers are seeking something that is more conformist that would help them fit in at work or with friends, then they may not want to stand out from others."
So why do we associate cold with status, luxury and desirability of products? Hadi thinks the connection could be deeply ingrained in our psychology.
"From the time we are born, warmth is associated with closeness next to a mother's skin... Conversely, cool temperatures are linked to physical and social distance, which can make products feel more exclusive."
That said, plenty of desirable things are also described as "hot" or "fire," but that's a study for another day. We now have the evidence that cool truly is cool, and the benefits are pretty obvious for marketers.
"It seems like such a simple manipulation, but it could have profound implications for companies that are trying to draw consumers to their luxury products," Hadi says. "At the same time, consumers should be aware that momentary feelings toward a luxury product in a cold store might fade at home."