It is far easier to provide an example for what I am trying to describe than to try and articulate it:


Scholar A: "Wow. That new study from University X is getting a lot of attention."

Scholar B: "I don't get what's so great about it. It doesn't seem that revolutionary to me."

Scholar A: "It's not. It's only receiving this much attention because University X is so prestigious."

Scholar B: "Ah. You mean the blank effect?"

I can't quite place my finger on it, but I know there is some pithy expression to describe this phenomenon.

Note: "Looking for idiom/expression to describe an instance where one makes something seem better than it really is" is not quite what I am referring to, as the study was not deliberately "fluffed up".

3 Answers 3


This phenomenon is called "The Halo effect".

The Halo effect is an effect where the reputation or the trust of someone or something builds up so much that everything done or said by that person/thing starts appearing to be divine, and the best.

The phrase of 'Halo effect' can be used in relation to a thing as well as a person.

The opposite of 'The Halo effect' is 'The Horn effect', wherein, anything done or said by a person/thing is considered to be untrue and unbelievable.

So, the phrase that you are looking for is 'The Halo effect'.


The brand effect

I am not sure this is exactly what you are looking for, but it is the closest expression that came to my mind.


How about cachet ?

(M-W) Definition of cachet

  • an indication of approval carrying great prestige

  • a characteristic feature or quality conferring prestige

  • prestige "being rich doesn't have the cachet it used to" — Truman Capote

Though I'm not sure if this would work with "effect". I think the effect is implied, so "cachet effect" just sounds redundantly clunky.

Does Capote still have the cachet he used to?... There's a temporality that might not be a match either, but it's a bit irreverent too, so it's a fun one to use:

"Oh yes, I know what you mean; University of X is so cachet."

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