Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration



Committee Chair

Marla B. Stafford

Committee Member

Rick Dale

Committee Member

Shawn R. Jones


Advertisements in which a good or service is portrayed as humanlike in one or more ways (i.e., anthropomorphism appeals) are commonplace, yet scarecely investigated. In this state, managers using anthropomophism appeals are left to wager pomotional budgets without knowledge of the impact these appeals have on viewers or the factors most frequently influencing these appeals. The present study addresses this limitation by evaluating the advertising effectiveness of anthropomorphism appeals and the roles of contextual (product type and product category) and individual (loneliness and product knowledge) factors. Using an online panel service, three experiments evaluated the effectiveness of anthropomorphism appeals at enhancing consumer attitudes, intentions, and recall. MANOVA results suggest that the principal benefit of anthropomorphism appeals relates to enhancing recall of advertising information (np2 = .055, p <.001). Spotlight analysis of the study's moderators revealed this effect on recall was substantially enhanced when subjects were relatively lonely (ß = .706, p = .001) or had relatively low self-assessed product knowledge (ß = .690, p = .001). When the product being advertised was hedonic, anthropomorphism appeals had an additional influence on attitude toward the advertisement (np2 = .013, p = .002). When visual elements were included in the advertisement, the anthropomophism condition was associated directly with increased attitude toward the brand (np2 = .022, p = .047), directly with attitude toward the advertisement (np2 = .059, p = .001) and indirectly with purchase intentions. Critically, the positive attitudinal influence of anthropomorphism appeals on consumer attitudes were reversed when the subjects reported relatively high product knowledge. In total, the present study offers a broad, early evaluation of anthropomorphism appeals. Relevant to theorists is evidence of a bridge between psychology and marketing models of anthropomorphism. Of value to marketing practitioners is the early guidance these studies offer in managing anthropomorphism appeals with consideration for the design elements, contextual factors, and individual psychographic variables.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.