In the context of the on-going debate regarding the relevance of the country of origin (COO) phenomenon and drawing from cue utilization theory as well as research on visual attention, we conduct three eye-tracking experiments that investigate (a) whether consumers naturally detect COO labels, (b) whether such detection influences subsequent behavioural intentions and (c) whether visual attention to COO labels can be externally motivated. Results consistently show that the majority of COO labels on product packages are indeed noticed by consumers. While the effects of COO on behavioural intentions are conditional on the duration of visual attention, dwell times on COO labels, on average, exceed the tipping point necessary to allow such effects. Importantly, whether and for how long COO labels are attended to can be motivated by differentially priming consumers’ competence (vs. warmth)-based judgment goals. Implications of these findings for levering COO cues in marketing strategies are considered.