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Attract customers with a cold look: when do we prefer cold representative

Zhipeng Xie (Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China)
Jing Zhao (Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Tao Wang (Economics and Management School, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 18 March 2019

Issue publication date: 28 March 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine the contradictory effect of coldness in advertisement and brand logo design.


The authors conduct four experiments to test the influences of coldness on consumers’ attitude. In the first two experiments, the researchers use real/virtual brand names to test the moderating effect of brand status and customer power; in Study 3, the researchers test the moderating effect of autonomy; while in the last experiment, the findings in the previous experiments are extended to explain similar effect of cold/warm brand logo designs.


This research finds that coldness also brings benefit to brands under certain circumstances. More specifically, cold endorsers/brand logo designs are only beneficial for brands of high (vs low) status, and can only attract consumers who experience high power (vs low power). Such effects are mediated by consumers’ perceived brand autonomy.

Research limitations/implications

This research urges the managers to analyze the characteristics of the brand and its target consumer. It also points out that the effectiveness of warm/cold representative derives from the customer perceived brand autonomy.


The authors’ contributions to the literature are as follows. First, this research examines the relationship between coldness and autonomy, which enables us to expand the findings to various contexts; second, this research expands the horizon of autonomy theory by identifying customer power and brand status as its moderators.



Xie, Z., Zhao, J. and Wang, T. (2019), "Attract customers with a cold look: when do we prefer cold representative", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 344-358.



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