Why pass on viral messages? Because they connect emotionally

A. Dobele, A. Lindgreen, M. Beverland, J. Vanhamme, R. Wijk, van

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

210 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this article, we identify that successful viral marketing campaigns trigger an emotional response in recipients. Working under this premise, we examine the effects of viral messages containing the six primary emotions (surprise, joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust) on recipients' emotional responses to viral marketing campaigns and subsequent forwarding behavior. According to our findings, in order to be effective, viral messages need to contain the element of surprise. By itself, however, surprise is not enough to guarantee message success; therefore, it must be combined with other emotions. The effectiveness of the viral message is also moderated by gender, with disgust-based and fear-based campaigns being more likely to be forwarded by male recipients than female recipients. To ensure forwarding behavior, the message must capture the imagination of the recipient, as well as be clearly targeted. Moreover, achieving fit between a campaign and the featured emotions is important, as this ensures an increased chance of forwarding. In addition to relaying these and other findings, we share and discuss the managerial implications of using different emotions in viral marketing campaigns. Finally, culture is recognized as an influencer
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-304
Number of pages14
JournalBusiness Horizons
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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    Dobele, A., Lindgreen, A., Beverland, M., Vanhamme, J., & Wijk, van, R. (2007). Why pass on viral messages? Because they connect emotionally. Business Horizons, 50(4), 291-304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2007.01.004