- Rest in peace? Brand-induced mortality salience and consumer behavior
- Journal of Business Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 61 | 10
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
The present research examines the hypothesis that brands can automatically activate mortality-related thoughts and, in turn, affect consumer behavior. Terror Management Theory (TMT; [Greenberg Jeff, Pyszczynski Tom, Solomon Sheldon. The Causes and Consequences of a Need for Self-esteem: A Terror Management Theory. In: Baumeister Roy F, editor. Public Self and Private Self. New York/Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1986. pp. 189-192.]) predicts that brand-induced mortality salience leads to increased spending and worldview defense. The present findings show that explicit exposure to an insurance brand increases the accessibility of death-related thoughts, which, in turn, increases personal spending intentions (Experiment 1). Experiment 2 demonstrates that (implicit) insurance brand exposure positively affects charity donations. Additionally, the results of Experiment 3 reveal that subliminal brand exposure affects worldview defense in such a way that individuals who unconsciously observe an insurance brand rate domestic products more favorably and foreign products less favorably than individuals in the control condition. Brand associations can affect (unconscious) consumer behavior in various unanticipated ways.
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