Do You Believe in Magic? Humans as Vehicles of Meaning Transfer




Taylor, Victoria

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University of Guelph


Research suggests that people seek consistency when processing strong, familiar stimuli, and that this cognitive process has been demonstrated when exposed to human faces. The use of human figures is a dominant theme in advertising imagery, with many brands using the same actors and models in their advertisements. What has yet to been investigated is the potential for one brand to transfer meaning to another by using the same actor or model in their advertisements. The underlying theory to this concept is the law of contagion, which posits that when two things come into direct or indirect contact, properties of one entity may be transferred to the other through their respective essence. The following study examines the moderating effect of model exposure on brand personality using print advertisements. Although results of the experiment were non-significant, suggestions for future research in this area are provided, along with several theoretical contributions. The following study serves as a novel example, with a vast potential for future practical implications.



schema, schema congruity, schema theory, sympathetic magic, essence, essentialism, brand personality, brand schema, psychological essentialism, contagion, advertising, advertising imagery, anonymous actor, anonymous model, facial memory, meaning transfer, non-celebrities, non-famous, contagion