Figurative language in advertising affects product attitudes positively across contexts. In contrast, the present research demonstrates that the use and effectiveness of figurative language in consumer-generated content is context specific, because of conversational norms unique to this form of communication. Study 1 shows that consumer reviews containing more figurative language lead to more favorable attitudes in hedonic, but not utilitarian, consumption contexts, and that conversational norms about figurative language govern this effect. Study 2 reveals that reading a review containing figurative language increases choice of hedonic over utilitarian options. Finally, via analysis of online consumer reviews and a lab experiment, studies 3 and 4 indicate that consumers use figurative language more when sharing experiences about hedonic than utilitarian consumption, and that review extremity influences figurative language use only in reviews of hedonic consumption. The studies highlight the critical role of conversational norms in interpreting and creating user-generated content.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics