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
Date Written: 2017
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: Suggested Citation