Exploring the Relative Effectiveness of Emotional, Rational, and Combination Advertising Appeals on Sport Consumer Behavior

Seunghwan Lee and Bob Heere

The purpose of this study was to empirically examine the relative effectiveness of emotional advertising over rational advertising and combination advertising on sport consumer behavior. To achieve this purpose, a 2 (emotion) × 2 (cognition) incomplete factorial design was employed with three experimental conditions (emotional, rational, and combination ad). A total of 324 participants with 108 participants in each of the three advertisements were recruited from a large public university in the United States. To test the relative effectiveness of the three advertising appeals on consumer behavior, multiple ANCOVAs with three experimental conditions (emotional ad: high emotion/low cognition vs. rational ad: low emotion/high cognition vs. combination ad: high emotion/high cognition) were conducted for the four dependent variables: attitudes toward the ads, brand attitudes, purchase intention, and merchandise consumption. Fanship was included as a covariate in order to control for a pre-existing characteristic that affects sport consumer behavior. The results suggested that emotional advertising led to a higher attitude toward the ad, brand attitude, purchase intention, and merchandise consumption than both rational and combination advertising. It was also revealed that combination advertising led to a higher attitude toward the ad than rational advertising. The findings will provide a deeper understanding of how to develop and design sport advertising as a vital component of overall marketing mix.