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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Music Timbre and Regulatory Fit

Published: May 28, 2019


Tsutomu Sunaga, School of Business Administration, Kwansei Gakuin University; Xuhong Zhuang, Graduate School of Management, Kyoto University; Yan Meng, Grenoble Ecole de Management


timbre; regulatory focus; sensory marketing


This study examined how musical timbre contributed to regulatory fit and persuasion. The results showed that piano (vs. violin/flute) associated with prevention (vs. promotion) focus (Study 1), which replicated in the marketing context as well (Study 2). Moreover, Study 3 demonstrated that when music played on the piano (violin/flute) was used in an advertisement, regulatory fit occurred among prevention- (promotion-) focused participants, meaning that the participants reported more favorable advertisement and product evaluations. The association between musical timbre and consumers’ regulatory focus offers a novel perspective on the notion of regulatory fit. The current study also provides a theoretical contribution to the sensory marketing and advertising literature by presenting convergent evidence that consumers exposed to music from different types of instruments response a marketing communication differently.


The authors would like to thank the JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) Number 15K03753 for its financial help.