Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Peter A. McGraw

Second Advisor

Kelly B. Herd

Third Advisor

Donald Lichtenstein

Fourth Advisor

John G. Lynch, Jr.

Fifth Advisor

Page C. Moreau

Abstract

Product packaging plays a critical role in consumers' purchase decisions. The present research examines how one element of packaging--shape--influences consumers' self-perceptions, enjoyment of the usage experience, and evaluations of the product. Specifically, in four studies, I examine anthropomorphized products (e.g., a curvy bottle resembling a woman) and show that when a package's shape resembles a human form that is associated with specific traits, consumers who use, or imagine using, the package incorporate the associated traits into their identities. As a result, the anthropomorphized package design influences consumers' enjoyment of using the package, as well as consumers' attitudes toward the package. Furthermore, I provide some support for the notion that consumers prefer anthropomorphized packages when the packages are associated with traits that can be instrumental in goal achievement.

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