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Unformatted text preview: 000 q 2011 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc. ● Vol. 39 ● June 2012 All rights reserved. 0093-5301/2012/3901-0002$10.00. DOI: 10.1086/661933 Enjoy! Hedonic Consumption and Compliance with Assertive Messages ANN KRONROD AMIR GRINSTEIN LUC WATHIEU This paper examines the persuasiveness of assertive language (as in Nike’s slogan “Just do it”) as compared to nonassertive language (as in Microsoft’s slogan“Where do you want to go today?”). Previous research implies that assertive language should reduce consumer compliance. Two experiments show that assertiveness is more effective in communications involving hedonic products, as well as he- donically advertised utilitarian products. This prediction builds on sociolinguistic research addressing relationships between mood, communication expectations, and compliance to requests. A third experiment reaffirms the role of linguistic expectations by showing that an unknown product advertised using assertive lan- guage is more likely to be perceived as hedonic. C onsumers are often exposed to forceful messages and imperative slogans such as Nike’s “Just do it,” Sprite’s “Obey your thirst,” or U.S. Airways’ “Fly with US.” The frequent use of assertively phrased messages is puzzling, given the mounting research in consumer behavior (e.g., Dillard and Shen 2005; Fitzsimons and Lehman 2004; Lord 1994), communications (e.g., Kellerman and Shea 1996; Quick and Considine 2008; Quick and Stephenson 2007; Wilson and Kunkel 2000), and sociolinguistics (e.g., Levine and Boster 2001; Sanders and Fitch 2001), which suggests that these messages should lower consumer readiness to comply. To understand the unexpected prevalence of assertive lan- guage, we turn to sociolinguistic literature on the language used in compliance-seeking requests. Research has found that people in positive mood tend to use more assertive language in their requests (e.g., Forgas 1995; Sinclair and Mark 1992). Correspondingly, people in positive mood ex- Ann Kronrod ([email protected]) is postdoctoral fellow in marketing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139. Amir Grin- stein ([email protected]) is assistant professor of marketing, Ben-Gurion Uni- versity of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel 84105. Luc Wathieu (lw324@ georgetown.edu) is associate professor of marketing, Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057. The authors wish to thank Deborah Thompson, Andrew Hayes, Kristopher Preacher, the editor, the associate editor, and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Debbie MacInnis served as editor and Stijn van Osselaer served as as- sociate editor for this article. Electronically published August 17, 2011 pect to be addressed with more direct and assertive language (Bloch 1996; Forgas 1999a, 1999b). This matching pattern appears consistent with language behavior literature, which demonstrates that higher compliance occurs when the lan- guage of requests fits the receiver’s expectations (e.g.,guage of requests fits the receiver’s expectations (e....
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