That’S So Disgusting – I’Ll Take Two!: How Disgust Enhances the Effectiveness of Fear Appeals

Andrea C. Morales, Arizona State University, USA
Gavan Fitzsimons, Duke University, USA
Eugenia Wu, Duke University, USA
This research explores how the presence or absence of disgust influences persuasion in general and fear appeal effectiveness specifically. In five studies, we explore disgust’s unique characteristics and its distinctive effect on persuasion. We find that because disgust generates a strong desire to expel, ads attempting to convince consumers to avoid rather than approach a behavior are more successful when they elicit disgust. Additionally, we demonstrate that eliciting disgust and fear in a persuasion appeal augments persuasion and compliance relative to fear appeals that do not also activate disgust. Importantly, we show how the differences in effectiveness are due to the action tendencies and appraisal dimensions associated specifically with disgust and fear.
[ to cite ]:
Andrea C. Morales, Gavan Fitzsimons, and Eugenia Wu (2010) ,"That’S So Disgusting – I’Ll Take Two!: How Disgust Enhances the Effectiveness of Fear Appeals", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 146-149 .