Nostalgia and Forestalgia: Testing Construal Level Theory in Regard to Past-Focused and Future-Focused Marketing Appeals
Shanahan, Kevin J.
Collier, Joel E.
Lueg, Jason E.
Date of Degree
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Visible to MSU only for 1 Year
Dissertation - Open Access
Business Administration (Marketing)
Doctor of Philosophy
College of Business
Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis and Business Law
Marketing appeals often capitalize upon nostalgia. By highlighting periods of the past, practitioners hope to elicit positive associations in the minds of consumers between the past and desired responses, from purchases to donations to political support. Though less often, marketing appeals also draw upon the future as a way of making the featured good or service more appealing to potential consumers. Could these different temporal distances into the future or into the past impact the reaction of consumers? Could the context of a product being either hedonic or utilitarian have an influence on the outcome of these past or future based appeals? Further, in the case of balanced products with relatively equal hedonic and utilitarian natures, could the pairing of appeals related to different lengths of time into the past or future with hedonic or utilitarian appeal influence consumers as well? Exploring these possibilities through qualitative in-depth interviews with practitioners and consumers offers the potential to find answers and add to the body of knowledge. The fundamental premise of Construal Level Theory (Trope and Liberman, 2000) comes into play in this pursuit. Construal Level Theory states that psychological distance, be it temporal, spatial, social, or hypothetical (Trope, Liberman, and Wakslak, 2007) has an impact upon the decision-making outcomes of individuals due to their perception of the issues involved as being either abstract or concrete. It is in this context that this dissertation investigates the use of past-based and future-based appeals of varying temporal distances in relation to products of either a hedonic or utilitarian nature, as well as appeals based on either utilitarian or hedonic motivations. As a result of this analysis temporal distance was revealed to play a role in consumer responses, but a different one than initially expected. Rather than the temporal direction of either past or future favoring hedonic or utilitarian products and messaging, the relative proximity to the present proved to be the more powerful influence. The nearuture and near-past advertising treatments offered advantages to hedonic products, and faruture and far-past advertising treatments offered advantages to utilitarian products.
Barnwell, Robert Wixel, "Nostalgia and Forestalgia: Testing Construal Level Theory in Regard to Past-Focused and Future-Focused Marketing Appeals" (2018). Theses and Dissertations MSU. 3310.