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J Appl Psychol. 1995 Dec;80(6):697-705.

Guilt appeals in advertising: what are their effects?

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Department of Marketing, School of Business Administration, University of Connecticut 06269-2041, USA.


This study examined consumers' emotional responses, their attitudes toward advertisements and brands, attributions about the companies promoting the brands, and purchase intention for ads varying on level of guilt appeal. Sixty working mothers, a prime target of guilt appeals, participated in the study. Results indicated that moderate guilt appeals elicited more felt guilt in the working mothers than did low or high guilt appeals. Furthermore, emotional responses, particularly anger, mediated the relationship between level of guilt appeal and consumers' attitudes and corporate attributions, and an inverse relationship occurred between level of guilt appeal and attitudes and attributions. Purchase intention was affected by the level of the guilt appeal and by anger.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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