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Maybe It Should Be a Laughing Matter: A Further Exploration of the Persuasive Power of Humorous Threat Appeals

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Maybe It Should Be a Laughing Matter: A Further Exploration of the Persuasive Power of Humorous Threat Appeals

Susan-Resiga, Irina (2015) Maybe It Should Be a Laughing Matter: A Further Exploration of the Persuasive Power of Humorous Threat Appeals. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The purpose of this research is to further explore alternatives to pure fear appeal advertisements. Although found to be effective, fear appeals also have numerous shortcomings, such as elicitation of defensive reactions and lack of persuasiveness in the real-world due to their omnipresent nature. In an effort to overcome these weaknesses, and to help further improve the persuasiveness of fear appeals, previous literature has suggested integrating positive appeals such as humor. As such, the current study explores the comparative effectiveness of humor, fear, and combined humor and fear advertisements. Additionally, the complexity of the recommended response is investigated as a potential moderator of persuasion. Furthermore, the current study builds upon previous work by using an established persuasion model, Witte’s extended parallel process (Witte, 1992), to account for the mediating cognitive processes leading to message acceptance or rejection. Results show that ads generating low fear were equally persuasive regardless if humor was present or absent from the message, and that complexity of the recommendation did not affect persuasion for any of the emotional appeals. Interestingly, it was found that a higher level of fear led to lower levels of message acceptance, and that this effect was more pronounced in the presence of humor. Although no support was found for any of the hypothesized relationships, additional analyses found that all of the ads were successfully persuasive. Future research directions to expand upon the limited literature on the topic are discussed, and actionable insights for marketers regarding the creation of effective persuasive messages are provided.

Divisions:Concordia University > John Molson School of Business > Marketing
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Susan-Resiga, Irina
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Administration (Marketing option)
Date:24 July 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Grohmann, Bianca
ID Code:980218
Deposited By: IRINA SUSAN-RESIGA
Deposited On:04 Nov 2015 20:21
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:50
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