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The effect of music on consumers' nostalgic responses towards advertisements under personal, historical and non-nostalgic conditions

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This article examines the influence of nostalgic-themed music on cognitive and attitudinal responses towards advertisements with personal, historical and non-nostalgic appeals. An experimental design using a 2 (with/without music) × 3 (type of nostalgia) factorial design is used to collect data from 244 valid respondents. Participants view one of six advertisements and complete instruments revealing their thoughts and attitudes. Changes in responses between the music and non-music conditions are hypothesised and analysed. Music with only a nostalgic theme does not enhance either nostalgic type under the nostalgic conditions. Introducing music to the intended non-nostalgic condition increases personal nostalgic reactions and brand/message-related thoughts. Attitude towards the advert improves significantly under all conditions, while attitude towards the brand does not. The non-nostalgic condition proves problematic, with participants experiencing a small and unintended level of both nostalgic types. Only one piece of music and brand/product category is used. The successful indication of each distinct nostalgic response provides considerable support forfurther studies. Marketing practitioners are better informed when including nostalgic-orientated music. A predisposition to personal nostalgia is found, suggesting this is a more salient response. The improvement in attitudes provides continued support for the importance of music in advertising. Many important future research directions are supported. This is the first study to empirically test reactions resulting from the inclusion of music while taking into account personal and historical nostalgic appeals and reactions as separate constructs.
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Keywords: attitudes; cognition; historical nostalgia; music; personal nostalgia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: The School of Marketing, Curtin University, GPO Box U1987Perth,Western Australia,6845, Australia

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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