This paper is concerned with the tension between consumer persuasion and freedom of choice. We study how assertive language (as in the slogan Just do it!) affects consumer compliance in hedonic vs. utilitarian contexts. Previous literature consistently claimed that forceful language would cause reactance and decreased compliance. However, we find in four studies that assertive persuasion is effective in contexts involving hedonic goods and hedonically framed utilitarian goods. Our hypotheses emerge from sociolinguistic research and confirm the relevance of linguistic research in consumer behavior.
assertive message consumer compliance hedonic consumption utilitarian consumption forceful language persuasion freedom of choice reactance