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Pseudo-ownership advertising appeal creates brand psychological ownership: the role of self-construal and customer type

Yan Kou (School of Business Administration, Guizhou University of Finance and Economics, Guiyang, China)
Samart Powpaka (Department of Marketing, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 23 March 2020

Issue publication date: 24 February 2021

Abstract

Purpose

In the advertising strategy called pseudo-ownership advertising appeal, ownership-implying language (e.g. my, our or your) is used to induce consumers’ “ownership” of a brand. This study aims to investigate the influence of pseudo-ownership advertising appeal on brand psychological ownership and consequent brand attitude, purchase intention and choice. This study also assessed the relative effectiveness of different types of possessive pronouns in different customer segments.

Design/methodology/approach

Four experiments, involving both students and non-students, were conducted to test the hypotheses. Experiments 1 and 2 investigated the effects of the first-person singular and plural possessive pronouns (“my” and “our”) on psychological ownership and on brand attitude, purchase intention and choice. Experiment 3 investigated the interacting effects of self-construal (independent vs interdependent) and possessive pronoun (singular vs plural) on psychological ownership and brand attitudes. Experiment 4 investigated the interacting effects of customer type (potential vs current) and possessive pronoun (first-person vs second-person) on psychological ownership and brand attitudes.

Findings

Pseudo-ownership advertising appeal resulted in the development of brand psychological ownership, as well as inducing favorable attitudes, purchase intentions and brand choice. Furthermore, consumers with interdependent self-construal developed stronger psychological ownership when pseudo-ownership advertising appeal incorporated plural possessive pronouns, and consumers with independent self-construal developed stronger psychological ownership when pseudo-ownership advertising appeal incorporated singular possessive pronouns. Potential consumers developed stronger psychological ownership when pseudo-ownership advertising appeal incorporated second- vs first-person possessive pronouns, and current consumers developed the same psychological ownership for first- and second-person possessive pronouns.

Originality/value

Possessive pronouns used in advertising can enhance brand psychological ownership. Conditions that moderate the relative effectiveness of first- vs second-person and singular vs plural possessive pronouns on brand psychological ownership and consequential consumer responses can be identified. These findings extend research focusing solely on the self-referencing effects of second-pronoun use (“you”) in advertising on consumer attitudes and behaviors by paying attention to the “ownership” effects of possessive pronouns.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research is supported by grants from the 2018 Initiation Project of Introducing Talents for Scientific Research of Guizhou University of Finance and Economics (No. 2018YJ94).

The research is supported by grants from MOE (Ministry of Education in China) Youth Foundation Project of Humanities and Social Sciences (No.20YJC630055).

Citation

Kou, Y. and Powpaka, S. (2021), "Pseudo-ownership advertising appeal creates brand psychological ownership: the role of self-construal and customer type", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 215-230. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-08-2019-2527

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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