Expectancy Violations, Message Elaboration, and It Can Wait® Messages

Sam R. Wilson, Brian Quick, Salah H. Al-Ghaithi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We apply a test and extension of Expectancy Violations Theory (EVT) to AT&T’s It Can Wait® promotional messages. Though promising, EVT remains underutilized in mass media contexts. We propose that message elaboration mediates the effects of violating audience expectations of message novelty, dramatic impact, and emotional arousal. Findings indicated that emotional arousal and dramatic impact violations had indirect effects on persuasiveness through message elaboration. This study contributes to theory by providing evidence that in mediated contexts violating message expectations can lead to greater persuasion. Implications for incorporating audience expectations into the design of safety messages are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-441
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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