Quotation Kamleitner, Bernadette, Marckhgott, Eva. 2021. Silent Persuasion. Incidental Use of Promotional Merchandise Benefits Unfamiliar Brands. International Journal of Advertising. 40 (7), 1135-1159.




Many brands distribute promotional merchandise like branded pens, flash drives or mugs in the hopes that it will improve consumers’ reactions to the brand. Yet, consumers often use them purely incidentally, i.e. they casually use them and pay no attention to the brand, such as when borrowing a pen from a colleague. We query whether even such incidental use of promotional merchandise affects consumer response. Drawing on the specifics of merchandise use and a combination of prior insights on persuasion, we suggest that incidental use of promotional merchandise affects in particular unfamiliar brands. In two controlled lab experiments, we find that consumers react more positively to an unfamiliar brand after incidentally using its merchandise. The effect emerges even though consumers do not consciously notice the brand’s logo but does not extend to a familiar brand. Equivalent incidental visual exposure to advertising stimuli, i.e., posters, was less effective than the haptic incidental use of promotional merchandise. Durable promotional merchandise may be a worthwhile investment, in particular for unfamiliar brands.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal International Journal of Advertising
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new INF-A, MAR-C, STRAT-C
Language English
Title Silent Persuasion. Incidental Use of Promotional Merchandise Benefits Unfamiliar Brands
Volume 40
Number 7
Year 2021
Page from 1135
Page to 1159
Reviewed? Y
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/02650487.2020.1855823
Open Access Y
Open Access Link https://doi.org/10.1080/02650487.2020.1855823


The influence of quality on the usage and effectiveness of promotional merchandise
Kamleitner, Bernadette (Details)
Marckhgott, Eva (Details)
Institute for Marketing and Consumer Research IN (Details)
Competence Center for Experimental Research WE (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5320 Marketing (Details)
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