Date: 14 Mar 2014

What’s in a name? Examining the effect of phonetic fit between spokesperson name and product attributes on source credibility

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Abstract

This study investigates the effect of phonetic fit between spokesperson name and product attributes on perceived source credibility, namely, spokesperson expertise, attractiveness and trustworthiness. We manipulate phonetic fit through a 2 (spokesperson name: front vs. back) × 2 (product attribute: crisp vs. smooth) factorial design whilst controlling for spokesperson and product attractiveness. Results show that a phonetic fit between the name of the spokesperson and product attributes encourages positive perceptions of spokesperson credibility, irrespective of whether a spokesperson is visually presented in an advertisement. Finally, results demonstrate that phonetic fit (front (back) vowel spokesperson name with crisp (smooth) product attributes) can promote positive attitudes towards an advertisement and product, as well as purchase intention, with these relationships mediated by perceptions of spokesperson credibility. Findings from this research are able to aid advertisers and brand managers in the creation of effective and persuasive spokes/brand-characters.