Journal of Business Ethics 169 (2):211-224 (2021)
AbstractThis study synthesizes research on evolutionary psychology, emotional appeals, and viral advertising in order to develop a novel perspective on how sustainable luxury brands can be effectively promoted on social media. The results of two experiments show that the emotional appeals of pride and gratitude increase consumer intentions to spread electronic word-of-mouth about sustainable luxury brands via two discrete mechanisms. Study 1 establishes that featuring the pride appeal increases eWOM intentions by heightening the luxury dimension of sustainable luxury brands, whereas featuring the gratitude appeal increases eWOM intentions by heightening the sustainability dimension of sustainable luxury brands. Study 2 shows that these discrete effects of emotional appeals influence consumers to adopt different types of eWOM behaviors toward sustainable luxury brands. Specifically, the pride appeal increases consumer intentions to broadcast eWOM via status attainment motives. In contrast, the gratitude appeal increases consumer intentions to narrowcast eWOM via affiliation seeking motives. The findings offer novel theoretical insights and provide managers with tools to promote sustainable luxury brands in a digital environment.
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