Effects of advertising-evoked vicarious nostalgia on brand heritage

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<ul><li><p>Journal of Business Research 66 (2013) 26192625</p><p>Contents lists available at ScienceDirect</p><p>Journal of Business ResearchEffects of advertising-evoked vicarious nostalgia on brand heritage</p><p>Altaf Merchant , Gregory M. Rose 1</p><p>University of Washington Tacoma, 1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA 98402, USA Corresponding author at:Milgard School of Business, U1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA 98402, USA. Tel.: +14523.</p><p>E-mail addresses: altafm@u.washington.edu (A. Merrosegm@u.washington.edu (G.M. Rose).</p><p>1 Tel.: +1 253 692 5687; fax: +1 253 692 4523.</p><p>0148-2963/$ see front matter 2012 Elsevier Inc. Alldoi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.05.021a b s t r a c ta r t i c l e i n f oArticle history:Received 24 August 2011Accepted 17 May 2012Available online 12 June 2012</p><p>Keywords:NostalgiaBrandsBrand heritageAdvertisingWhy do people feel emotional attachment to events occurring before they were born? This paper examines ad-evoked vicarious nostalgiainduced longing for a time period that an individual did not live through. Vicariousnostalgia impacts brand heritage and leads to stronger brand attachment. Qualitative research (Study 1) and aliterature review identify two vicarious nostalgia dimensionsfantasies about past eras and emotions. Initialquantitative research (Study 2) refines thesemeasures, while subsequent quantitative research (Study 3) relatesvicarious nostalgia to both antecedents (alienation, fantasy proneness, and nostalgia proneness) and conse-quences (brand heritage and brand attachment). Self-referencing moderates the relationship between nostalgiaproneness and fantasies, while vicarious nostalgia partially mediates the relationship between nostalgia prone-ness and brand heritage. Both individual propensities (nostalgia proneness) and advertising-evoked vicariousnostalgia enhance or build brand heritage perceptions.</p><p> 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.1. Introduction</p><p>A brand's heritage tells a wonderful tale. Aaker (1991, 2004)describes the importance of heritage in building corporate and productbrands. Coca Cola, Ivory, and Budweiser provide examples of companiesthat frequently leverage brand heritage to bolster their brands. Con-sumers tend to associate a brand's longevity and stability with heritage(Urde, Greyser, &amp; Balmer, 2007). Evoking heritage appears instrumentalin driving brand strength (George, 2004) and brand personality (Kellerand Richey, 2006). Stability and continuity are crucial, especially duringtimes of crises (financial, economic, or political), because a brand'sheritage imparts a sense of grounding and safety.</p><p>Marketers often reassure consumers and provide a sense of securitythrough nostalgic advertising (Boyle, 2009). These ads can precipitateconsumer longing for their lived past (personal nostalgia) (Sullivan,2009) or evoke emotional feelings for a time period before the con-sumer's birth (vicarious nostalgia). For example, Sears evokes vicariousnostalgia in their advertising campaign, Sears, where else (Elliott,2002), by using now-and-then spots to recreate scenes of everydaylife throughout the 20th Century. These ads remind consumers thatniversity ofWashington Tacoma,253 692 5684; fax: +1 253 692</p><p>chant),</p><p>rights reserved.Sears sold their ancestors everything from farm equipment to saddleshoes. Numerous examples exist for many other products and servicesthat utilize vicarious nostalgia, such as Levi's jeans, Total cereal,Volkswagen, Wawa, and Macy's (Elliott, 2002; Horovitz, 2011).</p><p>This paper posits that advertising-evoked vicarious nostalgia is in-strumental in building consumers' brand heritage perceptions. Whileprevious studies examine nostalgia, they focus mainly on ad-evokedpersonal nostalgia. To date, academic studies ignore vicariousnostalgia's effects on brand heritage perceptions. This research aims tofill this gap by conceptually developing and empirically testing amodel that examines the impact of advertising-evoked vicarious nostal-gia on brand heritage. Measures of these constructs are also developedbased on both qualitative and quantitative research. Study 1 develops aconceptual model, ten research hypotheses and preliminary measuresof the focal constructs by reviewing the literature and synthesizingthe results of five focus groups. Study 2 refines the measures ofadvertising-evoked vicarious nostalgia and brand heritage, whileStudy 3 empirically tests the hypotheses.</p><p>This research: (1) proposes and examines several antecedents(nostalgia proneness, fantasy proneness, alienation, and vicariousnostalgia) in brand heritage's nomological network; (2) contributes tothe nostalgia literature by explicating advertising-evoked vicariousnostalgia as a two-dimensional experience that includes fantasiesabout past eras and emotions; (3) establishes that both individual pro-pensities (nostalgia proneness) and advertising-evoked vicariousnostalgia enhance or build brand heritage perceptions; and (4) revealsthat advertising-evoked vicarious nostalgia is a positive experiencethat enhances consumer comprehension and interpretation of thebrand's meaning, which augments emotional attachment.</p><p>http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.05.021mailto:altafm@u.washington.edumailto:rosegm@u.washington.eduhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.05.021http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01482963http://crossmark.crossref.org/dialog/?doi=10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.05.021&amp;domain=pdf</p></li><li><p>2620 A. Merchant, G.M. Rose / Journal of Business Research 66 (2013) 261926252. Hypotheses development</p><p>2.1. Vicarious nostalgia</p><p>Personal nostalgia encompasses a longing for the lived past(Merchant, LaTour, Ford, and LaTour, forthcoming). Vicarious nostalgiaon the other hand, deals with nostalgia for a period outside of theindividual's living memory (Goulding, 2002, page 542) that wasnever directly experienced by the consumer (Baker and Kennedy,1994). Vicarious nostalgia, also referred to as historical nostalgia, exam-ines the experience of emotionally connecting to and fantasizing aboutexperiences and associations from past eras (Stern, 1992). Recentresearch links vicarious nostalgia to positive ad and brand attitudes(Marchegiani and Phau, 2011; Muehling, 2011). Rose and Wood(2005) allude to fantasy elements in vicarious nostalgia. Previousdescriptions indicate that vicarious nostalgia can influence the purchaseof automobiles (Leigh, Peters and Shelton, 2006), cigarettes, tea (Holak,Matveev and Havlena, 2008), beverages, sneakers and apparel(Horovitz, 2011). Companies frequently attempt to evoke vicariousnostalgia through advertising across a variety of products, includingcars (e.g., Chrysler, Chevrolet), alcoholic beverages (e.g., Jack Daniel's),non-alcoholic beverages (e.g., Mountain Dew), and banks (e.g., WellsFargo). Vicarious nostalgia serves to build, detail, and reinforce theheritage of the advertised brand.</p><p>2.2. Brand heritage</p><p>The Cambridge dictionary defines heritage as features belonging tothe culture of a particular society, such as traditions, languages, or build-ings, which come from the past and are still important (http://tinyurl.com/buqc2no). Urde et al. (2007, page 4) describe brand heritage as adimension of a brand's identity found in its track record, longevity, corevalues, use of symbols and particularly in the organizational belief thatits history is important. Over a period of time, a history composed ofaccumulated brand-related experiences shape brand perceptions(Aaker, 1991). Heritage provides an important driver. The brand'searly roots add sincerity and differentiation, especially as the brand'shistory and origin are re-interpreted in contemporary times (Aaker,2004). In some instances marketers extol a brand's real history andheritage (Beverland and Luxton, 2005). In other cases, marketers em-bellish, augment, or create a fictitious heritage (Beverland, Lindgreen,and Vink, 2008; Holak et al., 2008). Brand heritage creates brand associ-ations (Aaker, 2004) that potentially enhance brand personality andbrand equity (Keller and Richey, 2006), reduce perceived risk, andenable a brand to command a price premium (Stewart-Allen, 2002).</p><p>2.3. Study 1: qualitative research</p><p>The literature and a qualitative study comprising five focus groupsinform the conceptual model. The qualitative study's objectives wereto enhance the understanding of the antecedents and consequencesFig. 1. Conceptof advertising-evoked vicarious nostalgia and their impact on brandheritage perceptions. Each focus group consisted of six-seven con-sumers and lasted for about 90 minutes. Participants included 19females and 14 males. Respondents were selected from a variety ofdifferent ages, incomes, and educational backgrounds. The participantprofile was homogenous in each group and heterogeneous acrossgroups. Initially, respondents were asked general questions aboutnostalgia. They were then exposed to four television commercials(Chrysler cars [ad available at: http://tinyurl.com/chryslerhome],Wells Fargo bank [http://tinyurl.com/wellsbg], Jack Daniel's whiskey[http://tinyurl.com/2a3o5mu], and Mountain Dew [http://tinyurl.com/yh5u7r3]), one at a time and their reactions were noted. Each adattempts to evoke vicarious nostalgia through imagery and music. Forexample, the Wells Fargo ad (set in the times of the California goldrush) depicts the relationship between young Charlie and Wells Fargobank as he saves enough money to send for his sweetheart. Similarly,the Jack Daniel's commercial presents a series of black and whiteimages, which morph through scenes depicting the life of Jack Daniel.A narrative describes how Jack Daniel first created his brand of whiskeyand grew his distillery.</p><p>The order of the ads was rotated across the groups. The discussionswere audio recorded and transcribed. In-depth transcript analyseswere conducted by two assessors. Each reviewer evaluated the tran-scripts independently, and then the assessors met to discuss andachieve consensus on the results. Respondents names are changed tomaintain confidentiality.</p><p>2.4. Conceptual model</p><p>Fantasy proneness and alienation influence the consumer's nostal-gia proneness. Nostalgia proneness affects brand heritage perceptions,both directly and indirectly through ad-evoked vicarious nostalgia(fantasies about past eras and emotions). Self-referencing moderatesnostalgia proneness' effect on fantasies about past eras. Fantasiesabout past eras influence emotions. These emotions influence brandheritage perceptions, which affect brand attachment. Thus, fantasiesabout past eras mediate nostalgia proneness' effect on emotions,while emotions mediate the effect of fantasies on brand heritage.Fig. 1 shows the conceptual model.</p><p>2.4.1. Antecedents</p><p>2.4.1.1. Nostalgia proneness. Some individuals show higher propensitiesor proneness for nostalgia than others (Holbrook, 1993). McKechnie(1977) finds that nostalgia prone individuals enjoy antiques and histor-ical places, appreciate artifacts of earlier eras, and frequently collectobjects for emotional reasons. An individual's life stage and otherpersonality factors influence nostalgia proneness.</p><p>2.4.1.2. Fantasy proneness. Fantasy proneness is an individual's procliv-ity to indulge in fantasies (Lynn and Rhue, 1986). Fantasy proneual Model.</p><p>http://tinyurl.com/buqc2nohttp://tinyurl.com/buqc2nohttp://tinyurl.com/chryslerhomehttp://tinyurl.com/wellsbghttp://tinyurl.com/2a3o5muhttp://tinyurl.com/yh5u7r3http://tinyurl.com/yh5u7r3</p></li><li><p>2621A. Merchant, G.M. Rose / Journal of Business Research 66 (2013) 26192625individuals get highly involved imaginatively while reading, playingand even during religious activities (Lynn and Rhue, 1988). High fantasyprone individuals are more creative, imaginative, and easily getabsorbed in stories as compared to low fantasy prone individuals(Merckelbach, Horselenberg and Muris, 2001).</p><p>Since nostalgia involves imagining or recollecting the past, the con-sumer's generalized fantasy proneness likely influences the consumer'sproclivity toward nostalgia. This relationship is particularly importantin the context of vicarious nostalgia, which involves the imagining of amythical but not lived past. This behavior also emerged in the focusgroups:</p><p>I frequently get lost inmy fantasies and day dreams. When I saw thisad (Wells Fargo) I started imagining what it would have been likeliving 100 years ago.the clothes, the houses, the simplicity, warmthin relationships..that would have been nice. (Jane, 55 year oldfemale)</p><p>Therefore,</p><p>H1. Fantasy proneness positively influences nostalgia proneness.</p><p>2.4.1.3. Alienation. Alienation refers to the separation of human beingsfrom fellow human beings and from their institutions (Kanungo, 1979,page 120). Alienation likely influences the consumer's propensity to getnostalgic. Nostalgia allows consumers to indulge in idealized, commu-nity values of the past. Imaginative transportation to another erathrough vicarious nostalgia likely heals the sense of insecurity andmarginalization felt by alienated individuals. An example from thefocus group includes:</p><p>You know relations are not what they were in the past. I know manypeople but do they really know me? .I often long for the medievaltimes, the times of chivalry and bravery. I think of that and imagine thatI was also one of those knights, bonding with the other knights. Throughthe internet I know some other guys who also have such fantasies.(Ichiro, 31 year old male)</p><p>Accordingly,</p><p>H2. Alienation positively influences nostalgia proneness.</p><p>Nostalgia proneness plays a significant role in shaping consumptionpreferences across products (e.g., music, movies, fashionmodels, classiccars) (Holbrook and Schindler, 1996). Nostalgia proneness positivelyaffects evaluations of product quality, brand image, and feelings to-wards the brand (Reisenwitz, Iyer and Cutler, 2004). Keeping thesefindings in mind, nostalgia proneness also likely impacts perceptionsof brand heritage, since nostalgia prone consumers tend to be pastoriented. Thus,</p><p>H3. Nostalgia proneness positively influences perceptions of brandheritage.</p><p>2.4.2. Ad-evoked vicarious nostalgia and its consequences</p><p>2.4.2.1. Ad-evoked vicarious nostalgia. The experience of nostalgiaincludes cognitive and affective elements (Davis, 1979). Studyingmuseum visitors, Grayson and Martinec (2004) allude to the central-ity of fantasy in experiencing vicarious nostalgia. The word fantasyhas roots in the Greek word phantasia regarding the human capacityto imagine (Rook, 1988). In Structure and Functions of Fantasy, Klinger(1971) describes fantasy as imagining a complex object or event inconcrete details (through images), where the object of imaginationmay or may not exist. Leigh et al. (2006) find that owners of the Britishsports car MG frequently fantasize about living and driving their MG inpast time periods. This behavior is consistent with the antiquarianismliterature, which illustrates that some consumers purchase antiquesand other things (e.g., old clothes, old houses) associated with thepast. These consumers often imagine that they live during the...</p></li></ul>

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