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Minions for the rich? Financial status changes how consumers see products with anthropomorphic features

Kim, Hye-Young and McGill, Ann L (2018) Minions for the rich? Financial status changes how consumers see products with anthropomorphic features. Journal of Consumer Research, 45 (2). 429 - 450. ISSN 0093-5301

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jcr/ucy006


The present research explores how financial status, which influences consumers’ expectations about how companies will treat them, affects consumers’ perceptions and assessments of products that have been given anthropomorphic features by companies. Studies 1 and 2 showed that participants with higher financial status expect more favorable treatment from a humanized entity (e.g., “a self-driving car would prioritize the well-being of the rich over others”). The results of study 3 indicate that participants with higher perceived financial status both afforded greater agency to humanized products and liked these products better than did participants with lower perceived financial status. These effects were mediated by commercial treatment expectations, when we controlled for perceived control and self-efficacy. Further confirming the role of treatment expectations, when participants believed people with low financial status would be treated better than those with high financial status, we observed the reverse pattern (study 4). Lastly, study 5 replicated the effect using a measured, not manipulated, variable of financial status. Findings support the view that effective anthropomorphism requires marketers to take into account consumers’ motivation to interpret a target with humanlike features as having positive agency, which results from treatment expectations.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors
Divisions: Management
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2019 12:12
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:28

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