Book chapter

Explaining the effectiveness of appeals to uniqueness: a social psychological perspective

PublisherNew York : Nova Science Publishers
Publication date2014

Marketing strategies frequently appeal to the individuals' tendencies to search for uniqueness, which is most often considered to derive from a universal human motive. However, socio-structural factors moderate this tendency. The present chapter discusses two such moderators: culture and social status. First, we provide evidence that in western societies, values and norms typically emphasize individualism and personal distinctiveness, whereas in non-western societies, values and norms encourage collectivism and solidarity. We further show that advertising campaigns in different societies match the appropriate societies' values. Second, a group's social status also shapes the uniqueness motive. Drawing on research on social class and gender, we contend that membership in a high-status group fosters independent self-construals, whereas membership in a low-status group fosters interdependent self-construals. Hence, marketing strategies appealing to the consumers' uniqueness motive are more effective for members of high-status groups than for their lower-status counterparts. In the last section of this chapter, we report evidence from an ongoing research programme showing that the social status moderation of the uniqueness motive is not only observed in naturalistic settings, but also in experimental settings. Our findings provide important insights into the underlying mechanism of the social status moderation. Overall, the evidence presented in this chapter suggests that advertising practices that appeal to the consumers' uniqueness motive should mainly be targeted to people living in western societies, and to members of high-status groups.

Citation (ISO format)
IACOVIELLO, Vincenzo, LORENZI-CIOLDI, Fabio. Explaining the effectiveness of appeals to uniqueness: a social psychological perspective. In: Advertising: types of methods, perceptions and impact on consumer behavior. New York : Nova Science Publishers, 2014. p. 67–92.
Main files (1)
Book chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:154029

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