The Effects of Guilt-Appeal Intensity on Persuasive and Emotional Outcomes: The Moderating Role of Sponsor Motive

Monique Mitchell Turner, Amanda Mabry-Flynn, Hongmei Shen, Hua Jiang, Vanessa Boudewyns, David Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Studies examining the persuasive effects of guilt appeals have yielded mixed results. The current study hypothesizes that source motive (profit versus not for profit) is a key moderating variable underlying these inconsistences. A controlled experiment tested the moderating role of sponsor motive on the relationship between guilt-appeal intensity and persuasiveness of the appeal and ad liking. Findings confirmed the notion that sponsor motive moderates the effects of guilt appeals: When guilt appeals are commercially oriented there is a relative failure of high-intensity guilt appeals compared to moderate-intensity guilt appeals. Moderate-intensity guilt appeals cause more-positive brand attitudes than high-intensity appeals. Yet, when guilt appeals are nonprofit, increases in intensity of guilt communicated lead to positive results. As the guilt-intensity increased, ad liking and persuasiveness increased. It appears that guilt-appeal intensity did not have an effect on brand attitudes when the message was nonprofit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-150
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018

Keywords

  • Anger
  • emotional appeals
  • guilt
  • guilt appeals
  • persuasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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