To read this content please select one of the options below:

A dog doesn’t smile: effects of a dog’s facial expressions and gaze on pet product evaluation

Jihye Park (College of Business, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea)
Arim Kim (College of Business, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, South Korea)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 27 June 2020

Issue publication date: 21 May 2021

514

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the following issues: whether consumers use a dog’s facial expressions and gaze on a product’s packaging to interpret the emotions of a dog and evaluate product quality and how owner identification with the dog moderates the effect of a dog’s facial expressions on product evaluations.

Design/methodology/approach

A field study and three lab experiments were conducted to examine the moderating roles of a dog’s gaze on the product package (Study 1) and owner–dog identification (Study 2) in the effect of facial expressions of a dog on product evaluations.

Findings

Results showed that the facial expressions of a dog presented on the product package influenced the perceived mood of a dog and product quality evaluation. The effects of the facial expressions were strengthened when the dog looked at the front. Furthermore, those who were more likely to identify with their dog tended to be more responsive to the dog with a smiling face and evaluated the product quality more positively than those who were less likely to identify with their dog.

Practical implications

Marketing practitioners in the pet industry can use the findings of this study to select and place an appropriate pet image on the product package. Happy facial expressions and the direct gaze of a pet can influence positive evaluations of a product and, as a result, increase the purchase intention. Product managers also can place words, phrases or images on the product package that highlight a dog as an inseparable part of the owner’s everyday life and as a representation of his/her identity. Emphasizing the owner’s dog as an extension of him/herself or a part of his/her identities can encourage the active processing of a dog’s facial expressions on the product package and the positive evaluation of a product.

Originality/value

The present work adds valuable empirical findings to the limited marketing literature for the pet-related industry. The results of the experiments showed how consumers process the facial expressions and gaze of a dog and use them to infer the quality of a product. Furthermore, the findings extend prior literature reporting that dog owners with a greater identification are more likely to humanize their pet dogs and develop empathetic abilities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund of 2020.

Citation

Park, J. and Kim, A. (2021), "A dog doesn’t smile: effects of a dog’s facial expressions and gaze on pet product evaluation", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 641-655. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-04-2019-2335

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles