How Vulnerable are Consumers to Blatant Persuasion Attempts?

Annick M.M. Bosmans
Tilburg University – Department of Marketing

Luk Warlop
KU Leuven – Faculty of Business and Economics (FEB); BI Norwegian Business School

Abstract:

We show that subtle environmental elements – such as background music – can reduce skepticism and decrease consumers’ use of persuasion knowledge. In four studies we show that the presence of background music can result in increased distraction and increased inclination to follow salespeople’s advice. Remarkably, this effect persists even when the ulterior motive of the salesperson is made extremely salient. Our results suggest that consumers may be more vulnerable to persuasion attempts then is usually assumed in the persuasion knowledge literature.

How Vulnerable are Consumers to Blatant Persuasion Attempts?

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