Be all you can be: The influence of advertising slogans on regulatory focus and consumer spending behavior

M.L. Fransen, B.M. Fennis, Adriaan T.H. Pruyn

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Advertisers and marketers often try to influence consumers’ choices by creating advertising slogans that appeal to our future goals, dreams and wishes (e.g., “Let’s make things better”, “Just do it”, “Be all you can be”). Associating brands with personal dreams and ambitions may imply that purchasing these brands can help us achieve and express our ideals and aspirations. In two studies we test the proposition that exposure to advertising slogans containing values related to achievement and personal goals will make consumers aware of the discrepancy between the person they are at this particular point in time (actual self-state) and the person they desire to be in the future (ideal self-state). We propose that this sloganinduced discrepancy can be decreased by various forms of consumer behavior, not necessarily related to the advertised product. Regulatory Focus Theory (Higgins 1997) states that individuals adopt a promotion focus orientation when they are concerned with reaching their ideal selves. Individuals with this strategy regulate their behavior towards desired end states and positive outcomes in order to decrease the experienced discrepancy between their actual and ideal state. Based on earlier research, showing that advertisements focusing on the independent self can induce promotion-related values (Hamilton and Biehal 2005), we expect that advertising slogans reminding us of the goals and ideals relating to our hopes, wishes, and aspirations are suited to directly induce the self-regulation mechanism of promotion focus. Furthermore, we hypothesize in study 1 that this activated promotion orientation influences personal spending intentions. We predict that participants who are exposed to promotion-related slogans intend to spend relatively more money on means that will help them achieve their goals and aspirations (i.e., education) than on means unrelated to valued promotion ideals (i.e., entertainment).
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)206-207
JournalAdvances in consumer research
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • METIS-243180
  • IR-60326

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