The purpose of this paper is to explore advergaming to identify how users respond to characters in terms of forming brand trust and purchase intentions. The study shows that users will tend to trust brands when characters are congruent with product type and trust propensity.
In a 2×2×2 factorial design, the character presence/absence condition and product type (high vs low involvement) are between-subject, manipulated and dichotomous variables. Trust propensity is a measured, continuous variable.
Findings indicate that character presence contributes to brand trust, leading to higher purchase intentions. Character presence is more effective for promoting products of low involvement; character absence is more effective for promoting products of high involvement. Moreover, in the low-involvement product condition, consumers who have low-trust propensity are more persuaded by characters. In the high-involvement product condition, consumers who have high or low-trust propensity respond similarly to both character presence and absence.
Although characters potentially affect how gamers react to online gaming, surprisingly few studies have attempted to identify how the characters and their interactions influence consumers’ emotions and behaviors in advergaming contexts. The current study fills the gap by focusing on the effects of characters and the interactions among other influences related to characters. This study makes new theoretical and practical contributions to the literature by showing that brand trust plays a mediating role and demonstrates that game characters can stimulate purchase intentions more persuasively depending on gamers’ trust propensity and involvement in the advertised products. The findings contribute to theory regarding congruency effects of game characters and the theory of brand trust.
Choi, Y.K. (2019), "Characters’ persuasion effects in advergaming: Role of brand trust, product involvement, and trust propensity", Internet Research, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 367-380. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-01-2018-0021
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