The value of art in marketing: An emotion-based model of how artworks in ads improve product evaluations
Arts-based initiatives provide many beneﬁts for organisations, managers, and employees, but little is known of how marketing can incorporate art to add value for consumers. The present research situates marketing tools within broader organisational theory to develop and empirically test an emotion-based model of how artworks in advertisements can increase the perceived value of a product (art infusion eﬀect). Across three experiments (N = 516) using three diﬀerent artworks (by Vermeer, van Gogh, and da Vinci), three diﬀerent products (mi- neral water, toilet paper, and chocolate), and three diﬀerent measures of product value (product evaluation, willingness to buy, and willingness to pay), brand aﬀect strongly mediated the art infusion eﬀect. Furthermore, this aﬀect-mediation was stronger for utilitarian products (water) than for hedonic products (chocolate). Thus, in support of general theories of arts-based methods in management, emotion appears to be a fundamental mechanism through which art aﬀects product and price evaluations.
Many theoretical insights explaining the beneﬁts of arts-based in- itiatives for business processes and outcomes have emerged recently in organisational and management research (e.g., Adler, 2006; Barry & Meisiek, 2010; Meisiek & Barry, 2014a; Schiuma, 2011; Taylor & Ladkin, 2009). Nevertheless, Meisiek and Barry (2014b) re- cently lamented that “the ﬁeld…is desperately in need of deeper and more carefully worked out theorizing that can help explain empirical ﬁndings and guide research eﬀorts” (p. 83). With that goal in mind, this study addresses a research problem related to how marketers can utilize art to create value both for companies and for their customers. More speciﬁcally, marketing constructs are situated within broader organi- sational theory to investigate two research questions: a) how can art- works in advertisements impact the perceived value of a product?; b) do brand aﬀect and product type mediate and moderate this impact? To answer these questions, we develop a highly speciﬁed conceptual model of one particular marketing eﬀect (i.e., the ‘art infusion eﬀect’, explained below) and empirically test it through three experiments that can aﬀect consumers’ evaluations and valuations of products, and we report methods and results of three experiments. Following this, we discuss the theoretical contributions of this study and the main man- agerial implications.
2.1-The value of art in organisation and management
Recent years have borne a “cross-fertilization” of art and manage- ment (Adler, 2006), with initiatives ranging from adding art courses to business school curricula and engaging employees in artistic activities, to hiring artists for management positions and even using artistic pro- cesses for structuring organisations. Arts-based methods in manage- ment have arisen from a growing skepticism that traditional manage- ment methods can adequately address the increased complexity of the modern business context, combined with a growing optimism that the arts can provide dynamic and innovative methods for handling that complexity (Adler, 2006; Nissley, 2010; Schiuma, 2011; Troilo, 2015).
Adler summarized these sentiments thus: “Creating the next great thing model. After the introduction of the theoretical framework adopted in the research, the value of art in organisation, management and mar- keting is considered, focusing on the use of visual arts in advertising. Then we describe an emotion-based model of how art in advertisements demands constant innovation; it’s a design task, not merely an analy- tical or administrative function. Historically, such creativity has been the primary competence of artists, not managers” (p. 490; see also Troilo, 2015). Taylor and Ladkin (2009) identify four distinct contributions that the arts can provide to managerial development within organisations: (1) the transfer of art skills (e.g., unbiased per- ception) to management activities; (2) projecting managers’ sub- conscious thoughts into their managerial strategies; (3) discovering the true essence of one’s product, service, or situation; and (4) increasing managers’ experience of personal presence, which can positively impact their business decisions and actions. To be sure, many other scholars have contributed additional important insights about how the arts create value for organisations (see the other papers in this Special Issue), but it is beyond the scope of the present research to fully review that literature here. Rather, we now turn attention to the broad theo- retical framework in which the present research is situated.
Schiuma (2011) presents a general framework for understanding and implementing arts-based initiatives in organisations. This framework distinguishes between dynamic- and static-based views of art. The dy- namic view concerns the organisational factors through which value creation occurs; it addresses how an arts-based initiative creates value. These factors include such processes as how the organisation utilizes the arts in managerial learning and leadership, and how employees are exposed to and interact with the arts to improve performance and create value. The static view instead assesses the generated value at a speciﬁc time; it addresses what value the arts-based initiative delivers. It essentially entails a snapshot of the outcomes of an arts-based initiative. These outcomes include such measures as the ﬂexibility of the organi- sation to adapt to environmental changes, the innovativeness of its managers, and the creativity of employees in solving work-related problems. Importantly, these dynamic and static views are intricately interdependent and complementary; how arts-based initiatives create value is tightly linked to what value they create. Nonetheless, these diﬀerent views do support distinct methods for incorporating the arts into the business. The dynamic view suggests that arts-based initiatives may be implemented as a general organisational approach for man- agerial learning, or as a technique for infusing aesthetic and emotive characteristics into the value creation process. The static view instead suggests that the arts be incorporated into the organisation for instru- mental purposes, that is, for creating value in the components or pro- ducts themselves. By this view, then, the organisation might consider simpler and more easily implemented methods of incorporating the arts to increase the value of the organisation’s outputs.
The present research examines Schiuma’s (2011) static-based view of arts-based initiatives, investigating how standard marketing tools can utilize art to create added value in products. Before conceptualizing the speciﬁc research question, however, one should consider whether Schiuma’s framework is applicable to the marketing of products. In fact, this framework focuses almost exclusively on organisation and man- agement, so its relevance to product marketing can reasonably be doubted. However, Schiuma’s deﬁnition of arts-based initiatives in- cludes “the exploitation of the arts to create intangible value to be in- corporated into products” (p. 3). Thus, we assume that the static-based view of arts-based initiatives can indeed be applied felicitously to product marketing. Speciﬁcally, our research investigates how the simple method of incorporating artworks in advertisements can in- crease consumers’ valuations of the product (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008b). This research is among the ﬁrst to examine how simple mar- keting actions can ﬁt into the broader context of arts-based methods in organisation and management. Moreover, because using artworks in ads is among the simplest, most direct, and most easily implemented forms of arts-based initiative, it provides a rather conservative em- pirical test of arts-based methods: if simply including art in an ad in- creases the valuation of a product, this would clearly reveal that the arts can directly create tangible, ﬁnancial value for business.
2.2-The value of art in marketing
So then, in what ways can arts-based initiatives be implemented in marketing to create value for the business? To begin with, marketing managers can beneﬁt from arts-based initiatives in all the same ways that other types of managers can, such as Taylor and Ladkin’s (2009) four contributions of the arts to managerial development (described earlier). Indeed, art may be incorporated more easily and naturally into the marketing unit than into other units within an organisation. Fur- thermore, art can additionally be incorporated into several marketing- speciﬁc processes and outcomes, such as new product development and product design, to create value (Troilo, 2015). For example, artistic product designs can improve product evaluations and even compensate for moderately poor functionality (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2014). But on the other hand, artistic product design can also backﬁre: an artistic design can decrease evaluations of products with extremely poor functionality (Hoegg, Alba, & Dahl, 2010). More generally, the crucial role of art in product development and design is unequivocal, and current theorizing within organisation and management research clearly recognises this (e.g., Barry & Meisiek, 2010; Schiuma, 2011). Notably however, those broad theoretical frameworks have largely overlooked advertising as another eﬀective tool for utilising the arts.
Many products and services are packaged or advertised with art.
Perhaps the most famous example is Absolut’s long-enduring marketing campaign (1986–2004) in which the brand’s iconic vodka bottle was illustrated by famous contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Other brands have used art in more or less engaging ways, such as alluding to or re-creating famous artworks, placing art on a package, or merely including artworks in the background of an ad. Indeed, marketing with art is ubiquitous, and for good reason: the exact same product may be evaluated substantially more positively when advertised with art than without art (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b, 2011). Thus, art in advertising creates value for consumers. Although this art infusion eﬀect is now well established, its underlying psycholo- gical mechanism is less well understood. Here we propose and demonstrate that one of the most fundamental aspects of art – its emo- tionality – underlies the art infusion eﬀect.
Relatively few studies have examined the simple practice of merely placing art on products, packages, or in advertisements. In a seminal demonstration of art infusion, Hagtvedt and Patrick (2008b) presented advertisements for bathroom ﬁttings that contained either an artwork (Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring), a photographic re-creation of the same scene (which was judged not to be art), or no image at all. Par- ticipants evaluated the bathroom ﬁttings more positively when viewing the ad with an art image than with either a nonart image or no image. In a subsequent experiment they found similar art infusion eﬀects on evaluations of a soap dispenser regardless of whether the artwork itself was judged positively (Monet’s Palazzo da Mula) or negatively (Turner’s Burning of the House of Lords and Commons). Moreover, if the artwork is perceived as an illustration rather than an artwork, then product eva- luations decline substantially (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2011). Thus, art improves product evaluations regardless of participants’ evaluations of the artwork itself, so long as the artwork is perceived as an artwork. This art infusion eﬀect generalizes to novel brand extensions (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a), and it appears to be mediated by per- ceived luxury (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b; Lee, Chen, & Wang, 2015). Evidently, the mere presence of art endows products with an image of luxury, which in turn improves evaluations of the associated products. These prior studies have deﬁnitively documented a theoretically interesting and practically important eﬀect of art on consumers’ eva- luations of products. The present study substantially advances this prior work by developing a well-speciﬁed conceptual model of art infusion that includes a more proximal mediating mechanism and a practically important moderator. A new conceptual model emerged from two cri- tical observations. First, although luxury perceptions are known to mediate art infusion eﬀects (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b; Lee et al., 2015), luxury perceptions themselves arise from several antecedent factors (Wiedmann, Hennigs, & Siebels, 2009), and hence it is unclear which lower-level factor(s) may explain art infusion. We therefore ex- amined brand aﬀect, which is a positive emotional response to the brand (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Holbrook & Batra, 1987), as a potential mediator of art infusion. Second, the prior studies have tended to use utilitarian products such as bathroom ﬁttings, cutlery, soaps, or soap dispensers (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b, 2011). However, given that hedonic products diﬀer from utilitarian products in brand aﬀect (Hirschman & Holbrook, 1982), the two product-types may elicit dif- ferential art infusion eﬀects. These considerations led us to develop and test a novel model of how art in ads increases the perceived value of products. Our conceptual model is illustrated in Fig. 1 and described below.
2.4-An aﬀective model of art infusion
Current frameworks of arts-based methods in organisation and management emphasize the role of aesthetics and emotions in value creation not only within the organisation, but also in its outcomes (e.g., products and services). In support of this assumption, we propose and demonstrate that the use of art in advertising provides one such method of value creation by stimulating consumers’ emotions. Indeed, much research conﬁrms the common intuition that art evokes emotion (Cirrincione, Estes, & Carù, 2014; Silvia, 2005). For instance, viewing artworks strongly activates the reward-processing circuits in the brain (for a review see Lacey et al., 2011). Furthermore, emotion is known to aﬀect a broad range of consumer behaviors, from product perceptions (Holbrook & Batra, 1987) to price evaluations (Xia, Monroe, & Cox, 2004). In particular, brand aﬀect is a well-established mediator of consumer perceptions and attitudes. For example, Chaudhuri and Holbrook (2001) found that brand aﬀect increases brand loyalty, which in turn increases market share and relative price. So given that art evokes aﬀect, and aﬀect inﬂuences product and price evaluations, our overarching hypothesis was that art enhances the perceived value of a product (i.e., art infusion eﬀect) by evoking emotion in consumers (i.e., brand aﬀect). Although Hagtvedt and Patrick (2008a,b) found that luxury perceptions mediate art infusion eﬀects, brand sophistication (cf. luxury) and brand aﬀect are positively correlated (Sung & Kim, 2010), and indeed aﬀect is an antecedent of luxury perceptions (Wiedmann et al., 2009). Thus, brand aﬀect may provide a more proximal, lower- level mediating mechanism. Note also that brand aﬀect and perceived luxury are not mutually exclusive mediators. Indeed, the present ex- periments will examine whether they simultaneously or serially med- iate the art infusion eﬀect.
H1. Brand aﬀect mediates the art infusion eﬀect.
We further hypothesized that the mediating role of brand aﬀect depends on the type of product being evaluated. A basic and widely supported distinction is between utilitarian and hedonic products (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Hirschman & Holbrook, 1982). Utili- tarian products such as water and laundry detergent have tangible features that oﬀer functional beneﬁts, whereas hedonic products such as chocolates and perfumes have symbolic features that provide emotional pleasure. The predicted relationship between brand aﬀect and the dif- fering product types may be counterintuitive: we expected art to in- crease brand aﬀect more for utilitarian products than for hedonic products. This prediction may be understood in terms of “diminishing returns”. Because hedonic products already possess salient emotional features, the addition of art should have a relatively small positive inﬂuence on brand aﬀect. In contrast, because utilitarian products pri- marily have functional features, adding emotion via art should increase brand aﬀect relatively more. Essentially, once a product has suﬃcient utilitarian attributes, then hedonic attributes begin to dominate product choice and satisfaction (Chitturi, Raghunathan, & Mahajan, 2007). For instance, hedonic messages and features improve evaluations more for utilitarian products than for hedonic products (Gill, 2008; Klein & Melnyk, 2016). In their discussion, Hagtvedt and Patrick (2008b, p. 387) speculate similarly that “counter to popular concep- tions, visual art works harder for functional products than for hedonic products, endowing the former with hedonic properties and thus increasing evaluation.” We therefore predicted the following.
H2. The mediation of art infusion by brand aﬀect is larger for utilitarian products than for hedonic products (i.e., moderated mediation).
The present research examines the eﬀect of art in ads on product evaluation, willingness to buy (WTB), and reported willingness to pay (WTP), all of which are consumer-based measures of product value. This research also investigates whether brand aﬀect – which is a speciﬁc marketing construct that captures the broader theoretical role of emo- tion in arts-based value creation – mediates these art infusion eﬀects on both utilitarian and hedonic products. Thus, this research provides a more general test of art infusion (hedonic and utilitarian products) on more directly practical measures (WTB and WTP) with a more proximal mediating mechanism (brand aﬀect). Study 1 ﬁrst examined the dif- ferential mediating eﬀects of brand aﬀect and perceived luxury on evaluations of a utilitarian product (bottled water) advertised with an artwork or a photograph. Study 2 replicated this theoretical compar- ison, but with a diﬀerent product (toilet paper), a diﬀerent artwork, and a diﬀerent measure of product value (WTB). Finally Study 3 examined the diﬀerential mediating eﬀects of brand aﬀect on WTP for utilitarian (water) and hedonic (chocolate) products advertised with or without an artwork.
Study 1 was an online experiment that tested H1. Participants viewed a mock ad for a ﬁctitious brand of mineral water, Purity, that included either a painting (Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring) or a photographic recreation of it (a perceptually similar photo; see Fig. 2A). We used a ﬁctitious brand to avoid potentially confounding eﬀects of brand knowledge, and we used mineral water because consumers view it as a utilitarian product.1 This study was designed to conceptually replicate Hagtvedt and Patrick’s (2008b) Study 2, using the same art- work and photo and the same measures of perceived luxury and product evaluation. Critically however, to test H1, we also included a measure of brand aﬀect as an additional mediator.
The experiment had one independent variable (ad image: painting, photograph; between-participants), and measures consisted of the two presumed mediators (perceived luxury and brand aﬀect) and the primary dependent variable (product evaluation).
199 US-based respondents (age M = 33 years, SD = 10, Range = 19–60; 41% females) participated via Mechanical Turk, which is an online labor pool that has been extensively validated for beha- vioral data collection (Berinsky, Huber, & Lenz, 2012). Participants were randomly assigned to one of the two experimental conditions (i.e., painting or photograph). Four participants were excluded from data analyses for failing an attention check (described below), leaving 195 valid participants.
See Fig. 2A.
Participants ﬁrst provided informed consent and indicated their sex and age. They then completed an attention check, which asked “How much attention are you willing and able to dedicate to this very brief study? If you select VERY LITTLE, then we will have to reject your work.”, with two response options labelled “very little” and “a whole lot”. All but four participants responded validly (i.e., “a whole lot”) on the attention check, and those four were excluded from analyses. Participants then read the following instructions: “We are investigating consumer attitudes toward a new brand that we may introduce into the market…On the following pages you will see an ad for a new brand, and you will be asked to evaluate several aspects of the brand.” Participants then advanced to a new page, where they viewed one of the two ads, rated aﬀect toward and perceived luxury of the brand, and then evaluated the product (in that order). The three brand aﬀect items (I would feel good if I use this brand; This brand makes me happy; This brand gives me pleasure) were from Chaudhuri and Holbrook (2001), and the three perceived luxury items (This brand is luxurious/prestigious/high class) were from Hagtvedt and Patrick (2008a,b). Respondents in- dicated their level of agreement with each statement on a scale from 1 (“strongly disagree”) to 7 (“strongly agree”). Participants then ad- vanced to a new page and indicated their product evaluations on ﬁve 7-point semantic diﬀerential scales (unfavorable/favorable, negative/ positive, bad/good, unpleasant/pleasant, dislike very much/like very much) used by Hagtvedt and Patrick (2008b, 2011). Next, as in Hagtvedt and Patrick (2008b, 2011), participants rated the degree to which the image in the ad “is an artwork (in terms of the manner in which it was created)” on a scale from 1 (not at all art) to 7 (deﬁnitely art). Finally, participants advanced to a new page where they were congratulated and completed another attention check (“To validate your participation, please select option 3 below. If you fail to select 3, we will have to assume that you are not paying attention, and we will have to reject your work.”). All participants responded validly on this attention check.
3.2.1-Data and analyses
The full, anonymized dataset is available through the ﬁrst author’s personal website (or upon request). Each participant provided 15 da- tapoints: sex, age, two attention checks, three brand aﬀect ratings, three perceived luxury ratings, and ﬁve product evaluation ratings. The three multi-item measures (brand aﬀect, perceived luxury, and product eva- luation) were tested for inter-item reliability (Cronbach α) and then combined into composite measures, as described next. Given that the experiment consisted of a single independent variable with two levels (ad image: painting, photograph) manipulated between-participants, group means were statistically compared via independent samples t– tests. Eﬀect sizes are reported in terms of Cohen’s d. Finally, mediation analyses were conducted via Hayes’ (2013) PROCESS macro for SPSS statistical analysis software.
3.2.2-Validity and reliability
Participants judged the painting (M = 5.76, SE = 0.17) to be more “an artwork” than the photo (M = 3.70, SE = 0.21), t(193) = 7.56, p < 0.001, thereby validating the art manipulation. The measures of brand aﬀect (3 items, Cronbach α = 0.93), perceived luxury (3 items, α = 0.97), and product evaluation (5 items, α = 0.98) were all highly reliable.
As illustrated in Fig. 3A, relative to a perceptually similar photo- graph, the painting elicited signiﬁcantly higher brand aﬀect [t(193) = 3.29, p < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.47], perceived luxury [t(193) = 2.27, p < 0.05, d = 0.32], and product evaluation [t(193) = 3.65, p < 0.001, d = 0.53]. These results replicate the positive eﬀect of art on product evaluation (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b, 2011), and suggest that brand aﬀect and/or perceived luxury may mediate this eﬀect.
To test whether brand aﬀect and/or perceived luxury mediated the eﬀect of art on product evaluation, we conducted a series of bootstrap mediation analyses (Hayes, 2013, model 4) with 10,000 re-samples and bias-corrected 95% conﬁdence intervals (CIs). Eﬀect sizes are reported as the unstandardized coeﬃcient B, and CIs that exclude zero are sig- niﬁcant at p < 0.05. The predictor was art (photo = 0, painting = 1) and the criterion was product evaluation ratings. A ﬁrst analysis in- cluded perceived luxury as the sole mediator. The indirect (mediated) eﬀect of art on evaluation via luxury was signiﬁcant, B = 0.29, CI = 0.05 to 0.58. This observation replicates Hagtvedt and Patrick’s (2008a,b) original demonstration that luxury perceptions mediate the art infusion eﬀect (see also Lee et al., 2015). However, the direct eﬀect of art on evaluation also remained signiﬁcant and substantially larger, B = 0.55, CI = 0.17 to 0.94, indicating only partial mediation by luxury and suggesting that another mediator is likely present.
A second analysis included brand aﬀect as the sole mediator. The indirect (mediated) eﬀect of art on evaluation via aﬀect was signiﬁcant, B = 0.61, CI = 0.23 to 0.99. Indeed, the mediation eﬀect by brand aﬀect (B = 0.61) was twice as large as that by perceived luxury (B = 0.29). Moreover, the direct eﬀect was no longer signiﬁcant, p > 0.10, indicating that brand aﬀect fully mediated the eﬀect of art on product evaluation.
To directly compare the mediating eﬀects of brand aﬀect and per- ceived luxury on product evaluation, a third analysis included both aﬀect and luxury as potential mediators in the same model. Results are illustrated in Fig. 4A. Once again the direct eﬀect was nonsigniﬁcant, B = 0.23, p > 0.10, indicating full mediation. Critically, although the presence of art in the advertisement signiﬁcantly increased both brand aﬀect (B = 0.64, p < 0.01) and perceived luxury (B = 0.54, p < 0.05), brand aﬀect signiﬁcantly increased product evaluations (B = 0.88, p < 0.001) but perceived luxury did not (B = 0.09, p = 0.08). Thus, when entered simultaneously, the indirect eﬀect of art on product evaluation via brand aﬀect was signiﬁcant (B = 0.57, CI = 0.23 to 0.93), but the indirect eﬀect via perceived luxury was not (B = 0.05, CI = −0.003 to 0.18). Furthermore, the indirect eﬀect of brand aﬀect was signiﬁcantly larger than the indirect eﬀect of per- ceived luxury, B = 0.52, CI = 0.20 to 0.89. Thus, the art infusion eﬀect was better explained by brand aﬀect than by perceived luxury.
Finally, a fourth analysis tested for serial mediation (Hayes, 2013, model 6) in which art increases brand aﬀect, which then increases perceived luxury, which ultimately improves product evaluation. However, this serial model was nonsigniﬁcant, B = 0.05, CI = −0.003 to 0.15, and it was signiﬁcantly outperformed by a model with brand aﬀect as the sole mediator, B = 0.52, CI = 0.22 to 0.89.
In sum, these results replicate the art infusion eﬀect, but also de- monstrate for the ﬁrst time that art infusion is mediated by brand aﬀect. Although perceived luxury did mediate the art infusion eﬀect when included as the sole mediator (as in Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b), its mediating eﬀect was relatively weak and diminished to nonsigniﬁcance when brand aﬀect was included. In fact, the mediating eﬀect of brand aﬀect was twice as large, which was signiﬁcantly larger, and it fully mediated the art infusion eﬀect even when perceived luxury was also included either simultaneously or serially. Overall, these results in- dicate that brand aﬀect underlies the art infusion eﬀect, thus supporting H1. These results also provide general support for theories of arts-based methods in organisation and management, which emphasize emotion as a primary means through which the arts can create value for business.
Study 2 was an online experiment that provided a further test of H1. Study 2 replicated the procedure of Study 1, but in order to generalize the results more broadly, we used a diﬀerent artwork, product, and dependent measure of perceived value. Participants rated their will- ingness to buy (WTB) a ﬁctitious brand of toilet paper (Costex) ad- vertised with either van Gogh’s Self Portrait or a photographic recrea- tion of it (see Fig. 2B).
202 US-based respondents (age M = 36 years, SD = 12, Range = 21–73; 44% females) participated via Mechanical Turk. One participant was excluded for failing an attention check; all other par- ticipants answered both attention checks correctly, leaving 201 valid participants. The procedure was identical to Study 1, except that the ads diﬀered in terms of both the product and the images (Fig. 2B), and WTB was measured via three items (I would consider purchasing this brand; I would use this brand; For the right price, I would buy this brand)
4.2.1-Data and analyses
The full, anonymized dataset is available through the ﬁrst author’s personal website (or upon request). All analyses followed the same methods and procedures as in Study 1.
4.2.2-Validity and reliability
Participants judged the painting (M = 6.13, SE = 0.13) to be more “an artwork” than the photo (M = 2.57, SE = 0.19), t(199) = 15.78, p < 0.001, validating the art manipulation. The measures of brand aﬀect (3 items, α = 0.94), perceived luxury (3 items, α = 0.98), and WTB (3 items, α = 0.95) were all highly reliable.
As illustrated in Fig. 3B, relative to a perceptually similar photo- graph, the painting elicited signiﬁcantly higher brand aﬀect [t(199) = 4.27, p < 0.001, d = 0.61], perceived luxury [t(199) = 5.93,p < 0.001, d = 0.84], and WTB [t(199) = 2.95, p < 0.01, d = 0.42].
Mediation analyses included art as the predictor variable (photo = 0, painting = 1) and WTB ratings as the criterion variable. When perceived luxury was included as the sole mediator (Hayes, 2013, model 4), the indirect (mediated) eﬀect of art on WTB via luxury was large and signiﬁcant, B = 0.70, CI = 0.46 to 0.99, with a non- signiﬁcant direct eﬀect of art on WTB, p = 0.96. When brand aﬀect instead was included as the sole mediator, the indirect eﬀect of art on WTB via aﬀect was equally large and signiﬁcant, B = 0.72, CI = 0.39 to 1.07, with a nonsigniﬁcant direct eﬀect of art on WTB, p = 0.85. Most critically, when the mediating eﬀects of brand aﬀect and per- ceived luxury were directly compared by including both simultaneously (see Fig. 4B), art signiﬁcantly increased both brand aﬀect (B = 0.87, p < 0.001) and perceived luxury (B = 1.22, p < 0.001), and brand aﬀect signiﬁcantly increased WTB (B = 0.89, p < 0.001) whereas perceived luxury did not (B = −0.09, p = 0.27). Thus, when entered simultaneously, the indirect eﬀect of art on WTB via brand aﬀect was signiﬁcant, B = 0.78, CI = 0.41 to 1.21, whereas the indirect eﬀect via perceived luxury was not, B = −0.11, CI = −0.34 to 0.08. Further- more, the indirect eﬀect of brand aﬀect was signiﬁcantly larger than the indirect eﬀect of perceived luxury, B = 0.89, CI = 0.43 to 1.52. Finally, a serial mediation model (art → aﬀect → luxury → WTB) was also nonsigniﬁcant, B = −0.06, CI = −0.22 to 0.03, and it was sig- niﬁcantly outperformed by a model with brand aﬀect as the sole mediator, B = 0.84, CI = 0.43 to 1.41. Thus, brand aﬀect rather than perceived luxury mediated the art infusion eﬀect.
These results corroborate the results of Study 1 with a diﬀerent artwork, a diﬀerent product, and a diﬀerent measure of value. Although perceived luxury mediated the art infusion eﬀect when included as the sole mediator (as in Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b), its mediating eﬀect diminished to non signiﬁcance when brand aﬀect was included. In contrast, brand aﬀect fully mediated the art infusion eﬀect even when perceived luxury was also included either simultaneously or serially. Results thus supported H1 in our speciﬁc conceptual model of art in- fusion, as well as general theories of arts-based initiatives in manage- ment (e.g., Adler, 2006; Barry & Meisiek, 2010; Schiuma, 2011; Taylor & Ladkin, 2009).
Study 3 was a lab experiment that tested H2. Having demonstrated in Studies 1 and 2 that brand aﬀect strongly mediates the art infusion eﬀect, Study 3 tested whether this mediation is moderated by product- type, with stronger mediation (H2) for a utilitarian product (water) than for a hedonic product (chocolate). The products were advertised with either no art or da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (see Fig. 2C). Participants rated their brand aﬀect and then reported their willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the given product. Notably, WTP is a direct measure of consumers’ valuations of the product, thus providing tangible evidence of the value created by including artworks in advertisements.
The experiment had a 2 (Art: artless, artful) × 2 (Product: utili- tarian, hedonic) between-participants design, and measures consisted of the presumed mediator (brand aﬀect) and the primary dependent variable (WTP).
Participants were 120 Italian respondents (47% females) from a broad age range (36% were 18–25 years old, 39% were 26–40, and 25% were > 40 years old), and the study was conducted in Italian. Thirty respondents participated in each condition, with random assignment to condition. An additional 15 respondents participated in pre-testing, as described next.
5.1.3-Product selection pre-test
To select appropriate products and validate the manipulation of product-type, we conducted a pre-test in which 15 participants each evaluated 10 products on both hedonic value (I love this product; I feel good when I use this product) and utilitarian value (I rely on this product; This product is a necessity for me). Participants indicated their level of agreement with each statement for each product on a scale from1 (“strongly disagree”) to 7 (“strongly agree”). Following Chaudhuri and Holbrook (2001), the two hedonic ratings (r = 0.86, p < 0.001) and the two utilitarian ratings (r = 0.89, p < 0.001) were separately averaged. We then selected two products that were from comparable categories but with extreme and opposite hedonic scores and utilitarian scores: chocolate was highly hedonic (M = 6.20, SD = 0.65) and low in utility (M = 2.73, SD = 0.65), whereas water was low in hedonism (M = 2.50, SD = 0.71) and high in utility (M = 6.60, SD = 0.43).
See Fig. 2C.
Participants viewed the ad, rated aﬀect toward the brand, and then indicated their WTP. The brand aﬀect measure was identical to the preceding study. Participants indicated their WTP via a single item (Above what price would you not buy the product, because you can’t aﬀord it or because you didn’t think it was worth the money?; see Breidert, Hahsler, & Reutterer, 2006). Perceived artistry was not mea- sured because unlike the preceding study, the control condition con- tained no artwork, and because the Mona Lisa is an extremely well- known artwork.
5.2.1-Data and analyses
The full, anonymized dataset is available through the ﬁrst author’s personal website (or upon request).
5.2.2-Validity and reliability
The measure of brand aﬀect was highly reliable (α = 0.90). Given the unbounded nature of reported WTP, we checked for outliers more than ± 2.5 SDs from the mean, but no outliers were observed.
Brand aﬀect ratings are illustrated in Fig. 3C. A 2 (Art: artless, artful) × 2 (Product: utilitarian, hedonic) ANOVA revealed large and signiﬁcant main eﬀects of both art, F(1, 116) = 652.94, p < 0.001, and product, F(1, 116) = 130.35, p < 0.001. However, those eﬀects were qualiﬁed by a signiﬁcant interaction, F(1, 116) = 9.49, p < 0.01. Art increased brand aﬀect signiﬁcantly more for the utilitarian product [t(58) = 20.33, p < 0.001, d = 5.22] than for the hedonic product [t (58) = 15.83, p < 0.001, d = 4.10].
Reported WTP is illustrated in Fig. 3C. A 2 (Art) × 2 (Product) ANOVA revealed a large and signiﬁcant main eﬀect of art, F(1, 116) = 347.07, p < 0.001. The presence of art in advertising increased WTP. A signiﬁcant main eﬀect of product, F(1, 116) = 109.42, p < 0.001, conﬁrmed that chocolate (hedonic) elicited higher WTP than water (utilitarian). The interaction was marginally signiﬁcant, F(1, 116) = 2.80, p = 0.097; it should be interpreted with caution. Al- though the eﬀect of art on raw WTP estimates was slightly larger for the hedonic product (artful–artless = €2.41) than for the utilitarian pro- duct (€2.02), this was due to the higher base WTP for the hedonic product. In fact, the presence of art actually elicited a larger price premium for the utilitarian product (240%) than for the hedonic pro- duct (128%). So although the artful condition elicited signiﬁcantly higher WTP than the artless condition for both utilitarian [t(58) = 22.19, p < 0.001] and hedonic products [t(58) = 10.99, p < 0.001], the eﬀect size was twice as large for the utilitarian product (d = 5.74) as for the hedonic product (d = 2.83). Thus, utilitarian and hedonic products both exhibited art infusion eﬀects that were ex- tremely large, but this eﬀect was marginally larger for the utilitarian product (water) than for the hedonic product (chocolate).
To test whether aﬀect mediated the eﬀect of art on WTP, and whether this presumed mediation was further moderated by product- type (H2), we conducted a test of moderated mediation (Hayes, 2013, model 7) that included art (artless = 0, artful = 1) as the predictor, WTP as the dependent measure, with aﬀect as mediator and product (utilitarian = 0, hedonic = 1) as moderator. As shown in Fig. 4C, the presence of art in the ad signiﬁcantly increased brand aﬀect (B = 3.51, p < 0.001), which in turn signiﬁcantly increased WTP (B = 0.46, p < 0.001). Critically however, although this indirect eﬀect of brand aﬀect on WTP was signiﬁcant for both the utilitarian product (B = 1.62, CI = 1.24 to 2.07) and the hedonic product (B = 1.27, CI = 0.93 to 1.74), this mediation eﬀect was signiﬁcantly larger for the utilitarian product than for the hedonic product, as conﬁrmed by a signiﬁcant moderation eﬀect (B = −0.76, p < 0.05). Thus, the med- iation by brand aﬀect was signiﬁcantly moderated by product category (B = −0.35, CI = −0.56 to −0.14). This ﬁnding of moderated med- iation supports H2. Nonetheless, the direct eﬀect of art on WTP re- mained signiﬁcant (B = 0.77, CI = 0.24 to 1.31), indicating only par- tial mediation by brand aﬀect.
The present study provides the ﬁrst evidence that the art infusion eﬀect is larger in utilitarian products than in hedonic products. The presence of art in advertising increased brand aﬀect (signiﬁcantly) and WTP (marginally) more for water (utilitarian) than for chocolate (he- donic). In the extreme, participants reported a willingness to pay more than three times as much for the same water when advertised with the Mona Lisa (M = €2.86) than without art (M = €0.84). This ﬁnding provides direct, tangible evidence that art in advertising increases the perceived value of a product. Moreover, this eﬀect of art on WTP again was mediated by brand aﬀect, but this mediation was signiﬁcantly larger for the utilitarian product than for the hedonic product. Thus, product-type moderated the art infusion eﬀect, thereby supporting H2.
We ﬁrst summarize the empirical methods and results in terms of our aﬀective model of the art infusion eﬀect. We then delineate the theoretical contributions of this research in terms of more general theories of arts-based methods in management. Finally we consider the practical implications of this research for managers in business and marketers in the ﬁeld.
The presence of art in marketing tends to improve product evalua- tions (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b, 2011; Lee et al., 2015). Although this art infusion eﬀect was well established, its psychological explanation was less clear. On the basis that art evokes emotion in the viewer (Cirrincione et al., 2014; Lacey et al., 2011; Silvia, 2005), and emotion aﬀects product and price evaluations (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Holbrook & Batra, 1987; Mano & Oliver, 1993; Xia et al., 2004), we hypothesized that emotion underlies art infusion. Across three studies using three diﬀerent artworks (by Vermeer, van Gogh, and da Vinci), three diﬀerent products (mineral water, toilet paper, and chocolate), and three diﬀerent measures of product value (product evaluation, WTB, and WTP), in all cases brand aﬀect mediated the art infusion ef- fect. Thus, emotion appears to be a fundamental mechanism through which art aﬀects product and price evaluations.
This research also supports the prior work establishing perceived luxury as a conceptual mediator of art infusion (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a,b; Lee et al., 2015), and indeed the present studies replicated this mediation by luxury. However, given that emotion is one of several antecedents of perceived luxury (Wiedmann et al., 2009; see also Sung & Kim, 2010), we hypothesized that emotion is the lower-level mechanism driving the higher-level eﬀect of perceived luxury on pro- duct evaluations. And in fact, when brand aﬀect was included as an additional mediator, perceived luxury became nonsigniﬁcant whereas brand aﬀect signiﬁcantly and fully mediated the art infusion eﬀect. Thus, when directly compared, brand aﬀect better explained art infu- sion than did perceived luxury.
Product-type moderated the art infusion eﬀect. Whereas prior re- search showed art infusion almost exclusively with utilitarian products, the present study directly compared art infusion with utilitarian and hedonic products. Art increased brand aﬀect more for a utilitarian product than for a hedonic product. This ﬁnding is consistent with other demonstrations that aﬀective attributes diﬀerentially inﬂuence utili- tarian and hedonic products (Chitturi et al., 2007; Gill, 2008; Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2014; Hoegg et al., 2010; Klein & Melnyk, 2016), presumably due to a sort of “diminishing return”. Because hedonic products primarily possess emotional attributes, the additional aﬀect induced by an artwork has a smaller inﬂuence on evaluations. And contrarily, because utilitarian products tend to possess functional at- tributes, increasing aﬀect via art has a relatively large eﬀect on eva- luations. Results thus supported a model in which art infusion is mediated by brand aﬀect and moderated by product-type, as con- ceptualized in Fig. 1 and empirically supported in Fig. 4C.
This research provides several theoretical contributions, ranging from the very speciﬁc to the relatively general.
As elaborated above, this research develops, tests, and supports a new, more powerful explanation of the art infusion eﬀect on pro- duct evaluations. This improved model is important insofar as the two alternative mechanisms (i.e., brand aﬀect and perceived luxury) yield divergent predictions in other marketing and con- sumption For instance, the two models make divergent predictions about which consumers will be most sensitive to art in marketing: whereas the aﬀective model predicts that consumers who are high in emotionality or emotional intelligence will be most susceptible to the use of art in marketing, the luxury model instead predicts that consumers who aspire to sophistication or are high in brand consciousness will exhibit larger art infusion eﬀects.
Following from the point above, this new aﬀective model of art infusion also led to the identiﬁcation of a new moderator of this eﬀect. Given that utilitarian and hedonic products diﬀer in their instantiation of and reliance on emotional aspects of marketing, we successfully predicted that those product-types would also diﬀer in their magnitude of the art infusion eﬀect. In fact, the aﬀective model suggests that other factors related to the processing or per- ception of emotion might also moderate such eﬀects of art on product value.
Relatedly, this research provides direct, tangible evidence of how art in marketing can create value for Much of the prior research in management has documented various ways in which businesses have implemented arts-based initiatives, and have cor- rectly pointed out the many beneﬁts that these initiatives may have for business (see e.g., Adler, 2006; Nissley, 2010). Much less evi- dence has been provided, however, that such organisational bene- ﬁts translate into ﬁnancial value. By measuring consumers’ will- ingness to buy and willingness to pay for the given products, the present research demonstrates quite simply and clearly that the arts can, in fact, add ﬁnancial value to business.
This research is also among the ﬁrst to conceptualize how arts-based initiatives in marketing may ﬁt into broader theoretical fra- meworks from organisation and management. To be clear, prior theorizing has acknowledged that the arts may also create value through marketing actions (e.g., Troilo, 2015). For instance, man- agement scholars often refer to the importance of art for product development and design. However, the potential of advertising for implementing arts-based initiatives has been overlooked. More generally, the present research conceptualized such marketing tools as ﬁtting within Schiuma’s (2011) static view of the arts. That is, marketing actions like product design, packaging, promotion, and advertising can add value to consumers’ perceptions and con- sumption experiences of the company’s products or services. In- deed, we have shown that static aspects of arts-based initiatives can provide direct and tangible ﬁnancial value.
Finally, this research provides speciﬁc support for theoretical models of arts-based initiatives in management. A common theme among theorizing in organisation and management is that a pri- mary mechanism through which arts-based initiatives improve business is emotion. Thus, our emphasis on emotion as a con- sequence of art and a cause of business performance can be in- corporated naturally into management theories: given that emotion explains the art infusion eﬀect, this can be viewed as support for the generalizability of those management theories.
The main ﬁndings of this research also provide practical, im- plementable guidance for marketers, especially for brand managers who face increasing challenges due to economic instability, the impact of digital technologies, the dynamism of consumer preferences, the growing power of distribution, and the rapid emergence of new com- petitors. These challenges highlight the importance of brand equity development and enhancement. The use of art in advertising can sig- niﬁcantly and positively inﬂuence brand aﬀect and hence the brand’s potential to elicit favorable emotional responses in the consumer (Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001, p.82). According to the means-end model of consumer categorization Peter & Olson, 1990), the enactment of this potential produces an increase in the degree of abstraction of brand associations, which in turn reinforces the consumer self-con- nection to the brand (Gutman, 1982; Reynolds & Gutman, 1988). As the emotional ties with the brand strengthen, consumer attitudes toward both the present brand oﬀer (e.g., product evaluation, WTB, WTP) and possible brand extensions improve (Hagtvedt & Patrick, 2008a). This improves brand scope and hence brand equity, which is strictly related to the growth opportunities deriving from the development of brand knowledge.
Another implication of these results for brand strategies is related to the positive impact that art infusion, mediated by brand aﬀect, could have on consumer behaviors. By adding emotional attributes to the brand, art increases both consumer involvement and perceived diﬀer- entiation and hence reinforces the stability of consumer choices. As a matter of fact, in the case of high involvement and high perceived diﬀerentiation among brands, consumers go through a complex deci- sion process that – being based on active information processing and diﬀerentiation among alternatives – favors the establishment of brand loyalty.
The evidence also suggests that marketing managers in charge of utilitarian products should especially value the art infusion eﬀect. In these categories consumer evaluation processes are mainly based on tangible attributes, linked to functional beneﬁts, and consumers try to ﬁnd a rational solution to the purchase problem, which ultimately re- duces the potential for brand aﬀect. Chaudhuri and Holbrook (2001) even found a signiﬁcant negative correlation between the utilitarian value of the product category and brand aﬀect. So for utilitarian pro- ducts the use of art in brand communications is an eﬀective way to prevent this limitation. Counterintuitively, utilitarian products for which aﬀective features are relatively less important are precisely the types of products that beneﬁt most from art in advertising. In contrast, hedonic products that already induce high emotions tend to beneﬁt less from artful advertising.
Finally, the addition of aﬀective attributes to utilitarian (informative) categories through art can cause a shift of the typical hier- archy of eﬀects underlying product evaluation and choice, opening innovative options in future brand communication strategies. For ex- ample, aﬀective categories (Vaughn, 1986) are processed through the sequence feel-learn-do (instead of learn-feel-do), and this may inﬂuence the design of creative strategy, the media strategy, copy testing and appraisal of advertising eﬀects. Thus, like arts-based initiatives more generally, arts-based marketing actions have tremendous potential to create value not only for companies, but also for their customers.