Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration
Fun is associated with experiences that provide pleasure, enjoyment, and entertainment, and has been linked to the desire to explore, learn new skills, and meet new people (Reis, O’Keefe, Lane, 2017). Engaging in fun activities brings us pleasure, recreation and often elicits feelings of ecstasy, liberation, and flow (Oh, 2020). Fun offers us a way to separate ourselves from the stresses of everyday life and allows individuals to recharge and refocus (Kennedy, 2021). Therefore, we often seek it out through the vacations we take, the friendships and partnerships we make, and even the products we buy, and the brands we favor.
This dissertation is divided into three chapters. Chapter 1 provides an introduction that explains how the essays are related and provides an interdisciplinary background on fun. The second chapter explores the specific dimensions of fun as they appear in marketing appeals. A new dimension of fun, extreme fun, is identified, and fun appeals are linked to brand attitudes, emotional brand attachment and social media sharing (virality). The third chapter builds on existing behavior change models to outline a behavior change framework that incorporates the use of positive and negative affect, self-interest, values, and social identification. Chapter three reports the results of a test that compares whether fun (vs informative) marketing communications impact consumer engagement in eco-friendly shopping behavior over time.
Specifically, this dissertation first aims to uncover and understand the differential effects of distinct dimensions of marketing appeals (Chapter 2: Study 1) by examining what activities and actions portrayed in marketing appeals signal fun to consumers. In this exploratory process, dimensions of fun identified in the extant literature (hedonic engagement and feelings of liberation) are refined and reconceptualized as flow fun and shared fun, and a novel dimension of fun – extreme fun – is revealed. Further, this dissertation illuminates the effects of these dimensions of fun on three key marketing communications outcomes: virality (social media sharing), brand attitudes, and emotional brand attachment (Chapter 2: Study 2). The results suggest that continued efforts to understand the unique dimensions of fun appeals offers can improve the effectiveness of marketing communications.
Additionally, this dissertation proposes fun appeals as an intervention within a behavior change model that encourages consumers to engage in eco-friendly shopping behaviors (Chapter 3). Eco-friendly shopping behavior is the process by which consumers take conscious and intentional actions to manage their impact on the environment through their purchases. It involves intentionally selecting goods and services that are manufactured and packaged using environmentally friendly materials, use less energy and resources to make and ship, and/or have little to no adverse effects on the environment over the course of their whole life cycle. A product’s potential to be recycled, is biodegradable, and/or whether or not it contains hazardous chemicals or contributes to greenhouse gas emissions are all factors that consumers may consider while engaging in eco-friendly shopping behavior. The longitudinal study evaluates the differential impact of fun (vs. information) appeals on green values, self-interest, social identification, and eco-friendly shopping behavior over time.
Khan, Tracy Amanda, "FUN IN MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CONSUMER BEHAVIOR CHANGE" (2023). Open Access Dissertations. Paper 1498.
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