The purpose of this paper is to extend a 2007 study by investigating which types of message appeals are more effective in reducing unrealistic optimism (a tendency for people to believe that they are less prone than are others to encounter negative outcomes) and inducing purchase intentions of a life‐threatening hazard prevention product in collectivist and individualist cultures.
An experiment was conducted with 133 American, 145 Singaporean, and 200 Thai undergraduates, totaling 478 participants.
The findings confirm the existence of unrealistic optimism in the marketing setting and show that first, lower levels of optimism are associated with higher purchase intentions for the product; second, hazard‐related behavior priming advertisement appeals lead to lower purchase intentions than do advertisements without priming, contradicting some earlier findings; and third, participants from collectivist cultures (Singaporeans and Thais) show higher purchase intentions than do those from individualist cultures (Americans) for both the risk‐priming and the expert advertisement appeals.
The samples, while well matched, consist of undergraduate students who are not necessarily representative of the populations as a whole. The samples also come from only three countries. In addition, the study uses a single message.
The study suggests that: external‐control/collectivist cultures may be more influenced by advertising, regardless of the appeal employed; different types of cultures may require different amounts of advertising to achieve equal levels of effectiveness; unrealistic optimism needs to be addressed by marketers of preemptive products; and for products that are health‐related and difficult to evaluate, advertisements using expert appeals may be more effective than those attempting to counter unrealistic optimism by priming the risk‐related behaviors.
The paper has re‐affirmed the existence of unrealistic optimism, and that this phenomenon exists internationally with respect to a high‐involvement risk product category. It has unveiled relationships between optimism and purchase intentions. Finally, the paper has identified both similarities and differences in terms of the existence of unrealistic optimism and the relative effectiveness of different message types across cultures.
Pornpitakpan, C. and Green, R.T. (2010), "The effect of message appeals and unrealistic optimism on purchase intentions: The case of heart‐disease prevention pills", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 372-396. https://doi.org/10.1108/13555851011062287Download as .RIS
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