Negative effects of brand familiarity and brand relevance on effectiveness of viral advertisements

Jin-Song Huang1, Liuning Zhou2
1Department of Marketing, Beihang University, People’s Republic of China
2Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California, United States
Cite this article:  Huang, J.-S., & Zhou, L. (2016). Negative effects of brand familiarity and brand relevance on effectiveness of viral advertisements. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 44(7), 1151-1162.

Volume 44 Issue 7 | e5397 | Published: August 2016 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2016.44.7.1151

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We investigated the impact of brand familiarity and brand relevance on forwarding of viral advertisements, which is an issue that has rarely been addressed before. An experiment and a field study with 3,749 participants were conducted to test the research hypotheses. Results revealed that in the context of viral advertising, brand familiarity and brand relevance act as negative factors for forwarding, and only under the condition of low brand familiarity and low brand relevance are people more willing to forward viral advertisements. These results are different from those in the traditional advertising literature, in which it is held that brand familiarity and brand relevance will generate positive effects on the effectiveness of advertisements. Theoretical and managerial implications are also discussed.

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