Daddy Dearest: The Influence of Paternal Investment on Attitude Toward the Advertisement

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Three studies were conducted using nonstudent samples to empirically test the impact of paternal engagement and paternal sentiment (PS) on customer evaluations of advertising content. Paternal investment theory (PIT), an extension of attachment theory, states that the quality of fathering that a daughter receives provides important information about others and society. Paternal sentiment, the global perception of one’s father, is defined and introduced to the advertising literature in this project. Both constructs are examined for males and females within a marketing context for the first time. An experiment is conducted in Study 1 to establish that low paternal investment (PI) and negative paternal sentiment lead to high customer evaluations for ads with maternal referents. Results from a second experiment suggest that customers with low paternal investment are more responsive to ads with maternal referents, particularly when combined with self-focus messaging. In Study 3, subjects participate in a field study. The findings suggest that when negative paternal sentiment and low paternal investment are primed, females are more prone to emotionally regulate than males. These research outcomes should inspire advertisers to consider the father–child relationship within the family structure as a possible basis for brand positioning.

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Journal of Advertising, v. 49, issue 2, p. 202-212

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