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Advertising effects of songs' nostalgia and lyrics' relevance

Hsuan‐Yi Chou (Department and Graduate Institute of Business Administration, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan)
Nai‐Hwa Lien (Department and Graduate Institute of Business Administration, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 6 July 2010




When using popular music in advertising, the songs' release period (nostalgia) and the lyrics' relevance to the product are two important characteristics but neglected in previous music‐related studies. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of these two variables on consumers' responses to advertisements.


A 2 × 2 experimental design was used to examine the effects of a song's period and the lyrics' relevance. The hypotheses were tested with a structural equation analysis.


Previously heard old songs have positive ad effects due to evoking consumers' good moods or by generating more favorable nostalgia‐related thoughts. High‐relevance lyrics facilitate the production of favorable ad execution‐related thoughts, which improve ad attitude directly and indirectly through good moods.

Research limitations/implications

Only undergraduate students are sampled. Further, the experiment focuses solely on music‐dominated ads for low involvement products.

Practical implications

For advertising targeting the young generation, the use of a popular song released during their childhood can elicit feelings of nostalgia and lead to good moods as well as favorable brand attitudes. Such effects, can be strengthened by high‐relevance lyrics.


Placing a previously heard popular song in a TV ad can evoke nostalgic feelings and generate favorable ad effects even when the product and other ad design elements are not related to nostalgic themes. The persuasion mechanism of nostalgia follows a dual‐route process, in which the cognitive route seems to be more influential than the affective route. The importance of lyrics' relevance is demonstrated to the extent that its impact on brand attitude can exceed that of song's nostalgia.



Chou, H. and Lien, N. (2010), "Advertising effects of songs' nostalgia and lyrics' relevance", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 314-329.



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