Will this trip be exciting? Consumers respond best to vacation ads that match current emotions

Oct 13, 2009

Most of us won't respond to the call of adventure while soaking in a relaxing bath. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, we're more likely to book a weekend at a spa.

"Imagine you are sitting in a bathtub, listening to calm music with gentle candlelight. Add lavender aroma. Then as you flip through a magazine, you come across an advertisement from an amusement park, promising you an exciting place full of adventurous offerings. How appealing would you find the prospect of visiting this amusement park?" write authors Hakkyun Kim (University of Concordia, Canada), Kiwan Park (Seoul National University, Korea), and Norbert Schwarz (University of Michigan).

The authors found that people evaluate vacation products with adventurous appeals more favorably when they feel excited rather than peaceful, and vice versa. They found that processing advertising claims depends much on the consistency between the message and the consumer's mood.

The authors explain that people who see an advertisement that promises an exciting vacation ask themselves, "Would this vacation really make me feel that way?" They are more likely to think a vacation will really be exciting when they currently feel excited rather than peaceful. In other words, incidental emotions influence the perceived likelihood that the product will deliver on its emotional promises: When the current emotions match the promises of the product, people infer that it may really make them feel that way; but when the current emotions mismatch the promises, the discrepancy between their current feelings and the promises suggests that the product may fail to deliver what it promises.

The researchers' results suggest that marketers can facilitate the impression that products will deliver on their promises by displaying them in contexts in which consumers' pre-existing feelings are likely to match the product's claims. "Exciting sports events are a better arena for advertising exciting vacations than for advertising serene vacations, not only because an exciting vacation may match the audience's general preferences, but also because an exciting vacation will match the audience's current feelings," the authors conclude.

More information: Hakkyun Kim, Kiwan Park, and Norbert Schwarz. "Will This Trip Really Be Exciting? The Role of Incidental Emotions in Product Evaluation." Journal of Consumer Research: April 2010

Source: University of Chicago (news : web)

Explore further: Ask yourself: Will you help the environment?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Consumer behavior linked with emotions

Nov 15, 2005

Scientists at Pennsylvania State University and at Tilburg University in the Netherlands say extraneous emotions can affect consumer purchases.

Remember that time? New study demystifies consumer memory

Jan 26, 2009

If a vacation starts out bad and gets better, you'll have a more positive memory than if it starts out good and gets worse—if you're asked about it right afterward, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Re ...

Do experiences or material goods make us happier?

Feb 23, 2009

Should I spend money on a vacation or a new computer? Will an experience or an object make me happier? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research says it depends on different factors, including how materialistic you ...

Recommended for you

Male-biased tweeting

9 hours ago

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Developing nations ride a motorcycle boom

11 hours ago

Asia's rapidly developing economies should prepare for a full-throttle increase in motorcycle numbers as average incomes increase, a new study from The Australian National University has found.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Not just the poor live hand-to-mouth

When the economy hits the skids, government stimulus checks to the poor sometimes follow. Stimulus programs—such as those in 2001, 2008 and 2009—are designed to boost the economy quickly by getting cash ...

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.

Math modeling handbook now available

Math comes in handy for answering questions about a variety of topics, from calculating the cost-effectiveness of fuel sources and determining the best regions to build high-speed rail to predicting the spread ...