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   2011, Vol. 43 Issue (03) : 308-321     DOI:
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Impact of Self Concept on the Effectiveness of Different Nostalgia Appeals
CHAI Jun-Wu;ZHAO Guang-Zhi;Zhang Ze-Lin
(1 School of Economics and Management, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China)
(2 School of Business, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA)
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Abstract  Nostalgia, a yearning for the past, has become so ubiquitous in the popular culture that it is frequently referred as a “nostalgia boom” in many public media, and has been a popular research topic. As nostalgia continues to expand in its depth and scope, nostalgia themes are frequently seen in consumer advertising that matches consumers’ carving for nostalgia. However, research on nostalgia advertising remains scarce and the communication effectiveness of such ads is not well understood nor do researchers and practitioners generally agree on the best approaches to take with nostalgia advertising. In fact, some advertisers view the use of nostalgia advertising as a minefield and call for extreme caution in employing the tactic because the use of nostalgia advertising could potentially undermine the brand heritage. The conflict views in the real advertising industry leave us an open question what’s nostalgia advertising’s real effect?
Guided by the idea of marketing segmentation and given the richness and complexity of nostalgia experience, a fruitful approach for nostalgia advertising will be to clearly differentiate the themes of nostalgia appeals and then match a specific nostalgia appeal to a segment of consumers with particular characters. In this research, we distinguish two types of nostalgia advertising appeals: individual nostalgia appeal and collective nostalgia appeal. Furthermore, we segment the target market to two parts based on consumer’s self concept as independent self and interdependent self. Advertisers can assign proper nostalgia advertising appeal to their target consumers to boost ad persuasiveness. We conducted two experiments to test how segments of Chinese consumers (independent vs. interdependent) responded differently to two types nostalgia appeals (individual vs. collective).
The results showed that individual nostalgia appeal will be more effective than collective nostalgia appeal for consumers with an independent self concept; whereas collective nostalgia appeal will be more effective than individual nostalgia appeal for consumers with an interdependent self concept. The results demonstrated that there’s strong matching mechanism between nostalgia appeals and consumers’ self concept. This study added to the literature by proving empirical evidence to the necessity and usefulness of making refined distinction among different types of nostalgias, also contributed to the research of self concept by applying this concept on the nostalgia advertising area. Meanwhile, this study bears important implications to nostalgia marketing that a fruitful approach for nostalgia advertising will be to clearly differentiate the themes of nostalgia appeals and then connect to particular segment of consumers, i.e. individual nostalgia appeal will be more effective in the individualism culture such as in Western countries, and collective nostalgia appeal will be more effective in the collectivism culture such as in East Asian countries.
Keywords nostalgia      individual nostalgia      collective nostalgia      independent-self      interdependent-self     
Corresponding Authors: CHAI Jun-Wu   
Issue Date: 30 March 2011
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CHAI Jun-Wu
ZHAO Guang-Zhi
Zhang Ze-Lin
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CHAI Jun-Wu,ZHAO Guang-Zhi,Zhang Ze-Lin. Impact of Self Concept on the Effectiveness of Different Nostalgia Appeals[J]. , 2011, 43(03): 308-321.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/      OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2011/V43/I03/308
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