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   2011, Vol. 43 Issue (06) : 674-683     DOI:
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The Influence of Self-Construals on the Imagery Advertising Strategy
YAO Qing;CHEN Rong;ZHAO Ping
School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
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Abstract  The paper investigates the influence of self-construals on the imagery advertising strategy. Based on recent findings in the narrative transportation theory and the social psychology model of self-concept, the authors demonstrated a moderating effect of self-construals on the imagery effect and this moderating effect did not change with different types of imagery advertisement, i.e., whether or not the imagery advertisement described the consumption scenario. Specifically, for consumers with independent self-construal, imagery advertisement was more effective than advertisement without imagery appeal in enhancing their purchase intention, whereas for consumers with interdependent self-construal, these two strategies had no significant difference. Further, the authors suggested that for independent self-construal consumers, imagery advertisement with either strong or weak argument was effective in enhancing purchase intentions, while for interdependent self-construal consumers, strong argument was a dominant strategy. These findings provided direct evidence for the proposition that independent and interdependent self-construal consumers took different psychological processes when they evaluated imagery advertisements.
To test the hypotheses, two experiments using student subjects were performed sequentially. As hypothesized, Study 1 tested the moderating effect of self-construals on the imagery effect by means of measuring subjects’ chronically self-construal. The study demonstrated that individuals with independent self-construal were more likely to be transported into an imagery world, therefore, advertisement using imagery appeal was more effective than advertisement without imagery appeal for consumers with independent self-construal. However, for consumers with interdependent self-construal, the two strategies had no significant difference in influencing purchase intention. Importantly, by adding an imagery condition cuing imagination scenarios, we showed that the moderating role of self-construal did not change with different types of imagery advertisement, which meant that consumers could imagine with their own experience or expectations so that the effectiveness of imagery advertisement did not rely on the imagination scenarios described by marketers. Furthermore, the mediating test demonstrated that the effectiveness of imagery advertisement was mediated by transportation. Study 2 manipulated subjects’ temporary self-construals and the argument strength of the imagery advertisement. The results showed that the strong and weak argument imagery advertisement have no difference in enhancing purchase intentions of independent self-construal consumers, whereas for interdependent self-construal consumers, strong argument advertisement was more effective than weak argument. This result further proved that independent self-construal consumers were less likely to consider advertisement information than interdependent self-construal consumer, whose psychological processing might be analytical even when they were exposed to an imagery advertisement.
The findings systematically demonstrated that the effectiveness of imagery advertisement strategy is moderated by self-construals. The research provides incremental evidence for the transportation account and the persuasion theory. From the perspective of a behavioral researcher, given the imagery appeal in advertisement, consumers’ psychological processing style should be interpreted. From the perspective of a decision theorist, the results reflect a strong boundary condition that contradicts the commonly held belief that persuasion influences purchase intentions through information accessibility. Finally, the findings have important managerial implications in designing imagery advertisement successfully.
Keywords imagery      narrative transportation      independent self-construal      interdependent self-construal     
Corresponding Authors: YAO Qing   
Issue Date: 30 June 2011
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YAO Qing
CHEN Rong
ZHAO Ping
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YAO Qing,CHEN Rong,ZHAO Ping. The Influence of Self-Construals on the Imagery Advertising Strategy[J]. , 2011, 43(06): 674-683 .
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/      OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2011/V43/I06/674
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