Assessing the Effect of Narrative Transportation, Portrayed Action, and Photographic Style on the Likelihood to Comment on Posted Selfies

European Journal of Marketing, 51(11/12), 1961-1979

Posted: 2 Aug 2015 Last revised: 13 Jan 2018

See all articles by Stefania Farace

Stefania Farace

Maastricht University - Department of Marketing

Tom van Laer

The University of Sydney

Ko de Ruyter

Maastricht University - Department of Marketing & Supply Chain Management

Martin Wetzels

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS)

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

Purpose – This research assesses the effect of narrative transportation, portrayed action, and photographic style on the likelihood to comment on posted consumer photos.

Design/methodology/approach – Integrating visual semiotics and experiments, this research examines the influence of consumer photos on viewers’ likelihood to comment on the visualised narrative. One pilot, three experimental, and a content analysis involve photos varying in their narrative perspective (selfie vs. elsie) and portrayed content (no product, no action, or directed action). We also test for the boundary condition of the role of the photographic style (snapshot, professional, and “parody” selfie) on the likelihood to comment on consumer photos.

Findings – Viewers are more likely to comment on photos displaying action. When these photos are selfies, the effect is exacerbated. The experience of narrative transportation—a feeling of entering a world evoked by the narrative—underlies this effect. However, if a snapshot style is used (primed or manipulated)—namely, the photographic style appears genuine, unconstructed, and natural—the superior effect of selfies disappears because of greater perceived silliness of the visualised narrative.

Practical implications – Managers should try to motivate consumers to take selfies portraying action if their aim is to encourage eWOM.

Social implications – Organisations can effectively use consumer photos portraying consumption for educational purpose (e.g. eating healthfully, reducing alcohol use).

Originality/value – This research links consumer photos and eWOM and extends the marketing literature on visual narratives, which is mainly focused on company- rather than user-generated content.

Keywords: Narrative Transportation, Selfie, Snapshot Style, eWOM

JEL Classification: M31

Suggested Citation

Farace, Stefania and van Laer, Tom and Ruyter, Ko de and Wetzels, Martin, Assessing the Effect of Narrative Transportation, Portrayed Action, and Photographic Style on the Likelihood to Comment on Posted Selfies (2017). European Journal of Marketing, 51(11/12), 1961-1979. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2638273 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2638273

Stefania Farace

Maastricht University - Department of Marketing ( email )

Maastricht NL, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Tom Van Laer (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Ko de Ruyter

Maastricht University - Department of Marketing & Supply Chain Management ( email )

Endepolsdomein 150
Maastricht, Limburg 6201 BE
Netherlands

Martin Wetzels

Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) - Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies (ECIS) ( email )

PO Box 513, 5600 MB
NL-5600 MB Eindhoven
Netherlands
+31 40 2473841 (Phone)
+31 40 2465949 (Fax)

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