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The weight of the saddened soul: the bidirectionality between physical heaviness and sadness and its implications for sensory marketing

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Abstract

Heaviness is a bodily metaphor used to express sadness. Building on embodied cognition theory and metaphor theory, we argue that sadness is grounded in bodily sensation of heaviness, which has important sensory marketing implications for engaging consumer senses to affect consumer decision-making and attitude formation processes. We found support for this metaphorical link between heaviness and sadness across six studies. We showed that carrying a heavy bag saddened individuals and increased the valuation of a teddy bear. Intention to donate to a charity supporting endangered tigers increased when burdened participants watched a sad video about these animals. Conversely, sadness induced physical heaviness and increased preference for an easy-to-maintain sofa. Further, sad individuals disliked an advertisement for a sports drink that figured energy-consuming actions. Our findings inform sensory marketing practice about embedding the bodily sensation of heaviness to induce sadness in marketing communication.

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[Hung, Yu-Chen] Singapore Univ Social Sci, Fac Business, Singapore, Singapore

[Zheng, Xue] CEIBS, Dept Org Behav & Human Resource Management, Shanghai, Peoples R China

[Carlson, Jamie] Univ Newcastle, Newcastle Business Sch, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

[Giurge, Laura M.] Erasmus Univ, Rotterdam Sch Management, Management, Rotterdam, Netherlands


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Source

Journal of Marketing Management

ISSN:0267-257X

Year:2017

Issue:11-12

Volume:33

Page:917-941

ESI Discipline:ECONOMICS & BUSINESS;

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