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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of experiential analogies on consumer perceptions and attitudes Goode, Miranda R.


What does driving a sports car have to do with a first kiss, shopping in New York or purchasing a pair of designer shoes? These comparisons were used in a recent ad campaign for the Alfa Romeo Spider and are prime examples of an experiential analogy. The predominance of experiential analogies in recent advertisements suggests that they are persuasive. Yet understanding what comes to mind when consumers process these comparisons remains to be investigated. By drawing on analogy and consumption experience literatures, an important moderator of analogical persuasiveness is identified, preference for the base experience, and the influence of emotional knowledge transfer on consumer attitudes is explored. Substantial focus has been devoted to understanding how consumers learn and are persuaded by functional analogies. Digital cameras have been compared to computer scanners, personal digital assistants to secretaries and off-line web readers to VCRs. These functional analogies differ substantially from experiential analogies where consumers are encouraged to compare two experiences. Three studies were conducted to investigate what contributes to the persuasive effect of an experiential analogy. Study 1 explored how base preference moderates the effect of emotional knowledge transfer on consumer attitudes. The findings suggest that an analogy is maximally persuasive for those who like the experience that an advertised product is compared to and cognitively associate a high number of emotions with the advertised product. In Study 2, a cognitive load manipulation was used to provide additional support for the effect of emotional knowledge transfer and base preference on consumer attitudes. Study 3 explored another important moderator, emotional soundness, specific to the persuasiveness of an experiential analogy. The findings from Study 3 further replicated the effect of base preference and emotional knowledge transfer on consumer attitudes and demonstrate that there needs to be sufficient underlying similarities in order for one to infer that the comparison experience and the advertised target product would have emotions in common with one another. The role of affect in the processing of an experiential analogy was also investigated.

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