Disentangling Effects of Subjective and Objective Music Characteristics in Advertising

Liu, Gordon; Abolhasani, Morteza and Hang, Haiming (2022). Disentangling Effects of Subjective and Objective Music Characteristics in Advertising. European Journal of Marketing (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/ejm-01-2021-0017

Abstract

Purpose: Drawing on information processing theory, we study how consumers’ liking of background music in advertising affects their purchase intention, and explore the roles of positive brand attitudes, music mode, and music tempo within such a relationship.

Design/methodology/approach: We created several radio advertisements that promote two fictitious products: an electric car (EcoCar) and a reusable coffee mug (EcoMug). We study the role of music in these advertisements and examine how it affects purchase intention across multiple experiments.

Findings: We confirm the prediction that positive brand attitudes mediate the relationship between music liking and purchase intention. We also show that music moderates such an indirect relationship because major mode music strengthens the effect of positive brand attitudes on purchase intention. Additionally, we find that major mode music with a fast tempo can further strengthen the effect of positive brand attitudes on purchase intention. As a result, the indirect effect of music liking upon purchase intention via positive brand attitudes will be moderated jointly by the music mode and the music tempo.

Research limitations/implications:Musical modes, tempo, and liking may convey different meanings in different cultural and geographical contexts. There may be differences between the liking ratings of various musical pieces in varied cultures.

Practical implications: Our findings provide marketers with a deep understanding of how to incorporate music into advertisements promoting purchase intention.

Originality/value: Limited scholarship explores how the subjective characteristics of music affect consumer buying behaviour in conjunction with the objective characteristics of music. The current research addresses this gap by investigating how music liking (a subjective characteristic of music) and music mode and tempo (objective characteristics of music) affect consumer buying behaviour.

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