Phonetic Symbolism and Brand Name Preference


Journal of Consumer Research

October 2007, vol. 34, n°3, pp.406-414

Departments: Marketing, GREGHEC (CNRS)

Keywords: Advertising, Experimental Design and Analysis (ANOVA), Language

Two experiments investigated the effects of phonetic symbolism on brand name preference. Participants indicated preference for fictitious brand names for particular products (or for products with particular attributes) from word pairs that differed only on vowel sound (e.g., front vs. back vowels, or vowel sounds associated with positive vs. negative concepts). Participants preferred brand names more when the attributes connoted by the vowel sounds (e.g., small, sharp) were positive for a product category (e.g., convertible, knife), but they preferred the same names less when the attributes connoted were negative for a product category (e.g., sport utility vehicle, hammer). However, words with negative vowel sounds were least preferred regardless of product category or attribute.