Influencers’ smiles work regardless of product and message

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to examine how influencers’ visual content affects consumer attitudinal and behavioral responses to influencer advertising. The proposed model includes smile intensity of influencers as the independent variable, warmth and admiration as the mediators, and product category (Study 1) and orientation of advertising messages (self vs social, Study 2) as the moderators. Design/methodology/approach: Two experimental studies (Study 1 and 2) were conducted. A total of 337 online panelists were collected via Qualtrics in Study 1 and responses from 409 online panelists were collected via Qualtrics in Study 2. Findings: The results of two experimental studies showed that smiling influencers increased perceptions of warmth and feelings of admiration, thereby evoking positive consumer attitudes and behavioral intention. The strong positive impact of smiling on responses to influencer advertising was present regardless of product categories (Study 1) and the orientation of advertising messages (Study 2). Originality/value: This study empirically examined the role of visual content on consumers’ attitudinal, emotional, and behavioral responses to influencer advertising by adopting theoretical models in social psychology. This paper also provides strong managerial implications for marketers who seek the most effective strategies for leading consumers to evaluate influencers positively and ultimately, accepting marketing messages favorably. 

Putting Things into Context: A Meta-Analysis of Media Context Effects on Attitudinal Outcomes

Abstract: The role of media context in advertising has been the subject of interest for marketers and media practitioners over the past fifty years. However, there remains a lack of clarity on the relationship between media context and advertising outcomes. To structure previous literature and facilitate knowledge development, this study meta-analytically examines the relationship between media context and attitudinal outcome measures (i.e., consumers’ attitudes toward the ad/brand/product and purchase intentions). A total of 31 years of research findings, 96 studies and 597 effect sizes involving 139,233 research participants were synthesized. The key findings suggest that different media context facets leverage consumers’ attitudes and PI differently. Felt involvement with media, transportation (consumers’ experience of becoming non-volitional and absorbed in the media contexts), and perceived trust/credibility of media vehicles exhibited a stronger influence on attitudes/PI. Media-ad congruence, the most commonly examined media context among objective contexts, resulted in a very weak influence on attitudes/PI. The context effect also differed by advertising-related characteristics and extraneous methodological factors. Accordingly, there is a need for both academia and practice to revisit the media context construct with a fresh eye.

Stranger Danger? Cue-based Trust in Online Consumer Product Review Videos.

Abstract: Trust is a significant factor in electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) effects. Online, consumers often need to form judgments about others using heuristic cues when they cannot rely on previous cumulative experiences with an online entity. Drawing on the theoretical construct of cue-based trust and signaling theory, this study aimed to identify and examine the efficacy of content attributes serving as trust cues in online consumer product review videos. A multi-method study conducted a series of focus groups and a survey study; focus groups identified 18 content attributes intentionally provided by a content creator in product review videos that serve as trust cues. In the focus groups and the survey, six of these content attributes emerged as heuristic cues that are particularly effective at eliciting consumer trust. Findings contribute to the understanding of cue-based trust and signaling theory in the eWOM context and hold practical implications for various stakeholders.

Do Young Adults Attend to Health Warnings in the First IQOS Advertisement in the U.S.? An Eye-Tracking Approach.

Abstract: Introduction: In October 2019, a heated tobacco product (HTP) IQOS debuted in the United States. This study examined young adults’ attention and cognitions in response to an IQOS ad that carried two mandated textual health warnings (Surgeon General’s warning and nicotine warning), and how their vaping and smoking status may interact with attention patterns to affect attitude and intention to use IQOS.
Methods: In November 2019, college students (N=164) viewed IQOS’ first U.S. magazine ad and two distractor ads. Viewing patterns were recorded with eye-tracking. Masked recall and aided recognition, attitude and intention towards IQOS use were later assessed with self-report. OLS regressions and moderated mediation analyses examined the associations between visual attention and viewers’ cognitions about IQOS use.
Results: Promotional content attracted significantly more attention compared to the warnings. Attention to the Surgeon General’s warning but not to the nicotine warning was associated with recall and recognition of the warning’s content. For ever-vapers, greater attention allocation to the promotional content in the IQOS ad was associated with more favorable attitude toward IQOS use, which was in turn positively associated with intention to use IQOS. Attention allocation to the warnings did not affect attitude or intentions, regardless of tobacco use status.
Conclusions: The results revealed the effects of IQOS promotional content overshadowed the two health warnings in influencing young people’s attitude and intention to use IQOS. Young adults who vaped were more vulnerable to HTP advertising with respect to future use and vaping may be a gateway to HTP use.

The Roles of Celebrity Endorsers’ and Consumers’ Vegan Identity in Marketing Communication about Veganism.

Abstract: Celebrities endorsing veganism may exert social influence on consumers’ attitude toward veganism and behavioral intention to become vegan. A between-subjects online experiment (N=303) examined the effects of consumers’ eating habits (meat eater versus non-meat eater) and celebrities’ vegan identity (altruistic motivation versus egoistic motivation) on various outcomes of health communication about veganism. Results of statistical analyses revealed a significant multivariate main effect of consumers’ eating habits on health consciousness, intention to spread electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) about veganism, and behavioral intention to become vegan. The results also reveal interaction effects between vegan celebrity endorsers’ motivation and consumers’ eating habits on health consciousness, intention to spread eWoM about veganism, and behavioral intention to become vegan. Additionally, moderating effects of source credibility, subjective norms, and identification with the vegan celebrity endorser were found. This study sheds some light on celebrity endorsements of veganism and effects of message framing on consumers’ veganism-related attitude and behavioral intention.

The effect of a firm’s environmental commitment in green messages in the luxury and fast fashion markets

Abstract: Consumers are increasingly interested in environmental issues, which has raised their expectations of firms’ environmentally conscious efforts. The purpose of this study is to investigate how green messages in advertisements conveying a firm’s commitment to the environment can effectively influence consumer attitudes and behavioral intentions. Further, this study examines the psychological mechanism underlying such an effect. The results of two studies show that firms’ eco-friendly efforts as revealed in advertisements for luxury products generated favorable attitudes in consumers and increased their behavioral intentions more than firms’ eco-friendly efforts as revealed in advertisements for mass products. This process was driven by trust in the ad message, especially for consumers of luxury brands and who are not confused by green messages. This research provides empirical evidence that green ads presenting a firm’s commitment to the environment can effectively influence consumers when brands are used to promote eco-friendly products in luxury markets.

Investigating the Impact of Immersive Advertising on Attitude toward the Brand: The Mediating Roles of Perceived Novelty, Perceived Interactivity, and Attitude toward the Advertisement

Jihoon (Jay) Kim (Grady Ph.D student), Joe Phua, Nah Ray Han (Grady Ph.D student), and Taeyeon Kim (Grady Ph.D student), “Investigating the Impact of Immersive Advertising on Attitude toward the Brand: The Mediating Roles of Perceived Novelty, Perceived Interactivity, and Attitude toward the Advertisement” Accepted for presentation at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2020 Annual Conference (Virtual), August 6-9, 2020.

Abstract: Although immersive advertising has emerged as a new persuasion tool in digital media environments, unanswered questions about its effectiveness remain. A between-subjects experiment (N = 127) with three levels of immersion (i.e., low, medium, high) tested whether greater levels of immersion led to more favorable attitude toward the advertisement and the brand. The results not only confirmed this hypothesis but also revealed the mediating roles of perceived novelty, perceived interactivity, and attitude toward the ad. Details about the effects of immersive advertising on consumer responses are presented, and theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.