Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Major Professor

Alex R. Zablah

Committee Members

Dan Flint, Ruta Ruzeviciute, Garriy Shteynberg


This dissertation includes two essays that examine how the use of different marketing communication approaches influences consumers. In the first essay, I propose that the use of human silhouettes, when compared to images of attractive human models, enhances marketing communication effectiveness by reducing the extent to which consumers experience self-threat when viewing an ad. In addition, I predict this effect holds for appearance-related products only and strengthens as consumers’ level of appearance-related self-esteem decreases. Five studies reported in this essay provide converging evidence in support of these expectations.

In the second essay, I investigate into how the use of puns in brand names influences consumption experience. Across seven studies, this essay teases out the bright- and dark- side effects of pun use in brand names on consumption experience and illustrates the potential benefits and risks associated with this marketing approach. Specifically, the findings show that the use of puns in brand names is a double-edged sword in that it can either enhance or dampen the enjoyment of the consumption experience. In addition, this research also identifies cognitive engagement as a moderator for these multifaceted effects of pun use in brand names on consumption experience. Besides meaningful contributions to theory, this research also yields important insights for practice by suggestion caution in the use of puns when naming brands.

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