The Impact of Music Pleasantness and Fit on Advertising Attitudes for Low and High Involvement Consumers
Debra Riley, Mark Anderson
Research in advertising suggests that music produces a substantial impact on a consumer’s attitude (e.g. Alpert and Alpert, 1989; Kellaris and Cox, 1989; North, MacKenzie, Law & Hargreaves, 2004; and Zander, 2006). However, there has been relatively little work on the mechanisms affecting low vs high involvement consumers. This study applies two dominant models on the impact of music in persuasion, classical conditioning and musical fit, to investigate the influence on low and high involvement consumers. Classical conditioning theory suggests that when a positive stimulus (i.e., the music) is associated with a neutral stimulus (the advertised product), the positive reaction to the music becomes associated with the product, leading to a favourable attitude (Gorn, 1982). Musical fit theory suggests that music activates information and evoked associations based on previous knowledge/familiarity, and when these fit the advertised product, the message becomes more persuasive (MacInnis and Park, 1991). Using an experimental design, 188 respondents saw advertisements paired with music that was pre-tested to be either pleasant/unpleasant (classical conditioning context) or congruent/incongruent with the product category (musical fit). Respondent’s involvement with the product category was also measured. The study found that ‘pleasant’ music significantly increased attitudes/purchase intention for low-involvement respondents (regardless of fit), while congruent music positively affected attitudes under high involvement conditions. Managerial implications and future research are discussed.
music, consumer behaviour, classical conditioning, congruence.
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