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Diagnosticity of Masculinity and Femininity in Processing Advertising Messages
Unformatted Document Text:  3 1989). It is generally accepted that brand consumption is symbolic, in service to the enhancement of self-images (Sirgy, 1982). Implicit in the symbolic use of brands is the assumption that brands share similar personality traits with human characters. Indeed, brand personality is defined by consumer researchers as “the set of human characteristics associated with a brand” (Aaker, 1997, p.347). Therefore, to the extent brand image is congruent with self-images, products are more positively evaluated (see Sirgy, 1982 for a review). Similarly, ads featuring congruent self-images have been demonstrated to be rated more positively than ads featuring incongruent self-images (Hong & Zinkhan, 1995). Except for the effects of ad-self-congruency with regard to the dimensions of masculinity and femininity on ad and brand evaluations, other domains of differences that might be induced by personality differences pertinent to these two dimensions have not drawn much research attention. Literature reviews indicate that research exploring other differences caused by individuals’ self-definitions of masculinity and femininity treat masculinity and femininity as important culture-level dimensions (Mooij, 1998). For example, Mooij (1998) has reasoned that individuals in masculine societies prefer communication modes that present facts and data, whereas individuals in feminine societies prefer communication modes that appeal to visual imagery. Nevertheless, there is no empirical research which bears on this hypothesis directly either at the cross-cultural level or the individual level. Therefore, this study will test the possible influence of individual differences in an individual ad-processing context by suggesting that, when evaluating advertised brands, the degree of importance of product beliefs, those product-related characteristics pertaining more to facts and data than to imagery, is a function of subjects’ self-ratings on masculinity. That is, subjects who score higher on masculinity will put more emphasis on product beliefs. In addition, this paper argues that product types will moderate the diagnosticity of

Authors: Chang, Chingching.
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1989). It is generally accepted that brand consumption is symbolic, in service to the
enhancement of self-images (Sirgy, 1982). Implicit in the symbolic use of brands is the
assumption that brands share similar personality traits with human characters. Indeed, brand
personality is defined by consumer researchers as “the set of human characteristics associated
with a brand” (Aaker, 1997, p.347). Therefore, to the extent brand image is congruent with
self-images, products are more positively evaluated (see Sirgy, 1982 for a review). Similarly,
ads featuring congruent self-images have been demonstrated to be rated more positively than ads
featuring incongruent self-images (Hong & Zinkhan, 1995).
Except for the effects of ad-self-congruency with regard to the dimensions of masculinity
and femininity on ad and brand evaluations, other domains of differences that might be induced
by personality differences pertinent to these two dimensions have not drawn much research
attention. Literature reviews indicate that research exploring other differences caused by
individuals’ self-definitions of masculinity and femininity treat masculinity and femininity as
important culture-level dimensions (Mooij, 1998). For example, Mooij (1998) has reasoned
that individuals in masculine societies prefer communication modes that present facts and data,
whereas individuals in feminine societies prefer communication modes that appeal to visual
imagery. Nevertheless, there is no empirical research which bears on this hypothesis directly
either at the cross-cultural level or the individual level. Therefore, this study will test the
possible influence of individual differences in an individual ad-processing context by suggesting
that, when evaluating advertised brands, the degree of importance of product beliefs, those
product-related characteristics pertaining more to facts and data than to imagery, is a function of
subjects’ self-ratings on masculinity. That is, subjects who score higher on masculinity will put
more emphasis on product beliefs.
In addition, this paper argues that product types will moderate the diagnosticity of


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