Ahn, Sun Joo (Grace), Joe Phua, & Yan Shan (2017). Self-endorsing in Digital Advertisements: Using Virtual Selves to Persuade Physical Selves. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 110-121.
Abstract: Self-endorsed advertisements (SEAs) are a novel form of digital advertisements, wherein a virtual self that looks like oneself in a digital advertisement persuades the physical self. Study 1 (N = 63) found that for unfamiliar brands, SEAs were more effective in promoting favorable brand attitudes using both verbal (name) and visual (picture) virtual self cues than no self-endorsing at or only a picture of the self. Self-referencing, the psychological process of encoding new information by activating one’s self schema, mediated self-endorsing and brand attitude. Study 2 (N = 75) manipulated the agency of SEA creation (i.e., self- versus other-created). Controlling for pre-existing brand attitudes, self-created SEAs elicited greater self-referencing for existing brands than other-created SEAs. High self-referencing led to high perception of self-brand congruity, and ultimately favorable brand attitude. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of self-endorsing as a new persuasion tool in a digital media environment.