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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Does Humor Enable or Backfire Identity Expressiveness?

Published: May 28, 2019


Lukman Aroean, University of East Anglia; Nina Michaelidou, Loughborough University


Identity Expressiveness; Humor; Brand Liking


Consumers use products and brands to express their identity to themselves and others. Much of the research in identity-related advertising has focused on identity as an explanatory factor, but our study examines identity expressiveness as an outcome elicited by humor in advertising. An experimental study uncovers how humor in advertising triggers brand liking and identity expressiveness. The results indicate a 'backfire effect', where humor lowers the identity expressiveness directly and/or through the mediation of brand liking. The results inform advertising strategy regarding the use of humor in advertisements.