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Appealing to Divergent Brand Community Members - Adjusting Advertisements to Reflect Competing Construals (Starbucks Social Distance Experimental Study)
Last registered on August 30, 2020


Trial Information
General Information
Appealing to Divergent Brand Community Members - Adjusting Advertisements to Reflect Competing Construals (Starbucks Social Distance Experimental Study)
Initial registration date
July 22, 2020
Last updated
August 30, 2020 9:09 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
Loyola University New Orleans
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
While brand communities bring to mind commonalities like shared interests and values, it is important to note that the way consumers construe information can be different depending on the situation and their level of integration with the brand community itself. Therefore, this research proposes that construal level impacts how brand community members process information, and specifically looks at how two dimensions of psychological distance—social and temporal distance—affect the persuasiveness of different types of advertising appeals. Furthermore, consideration is given to the consequences that occur when both dimensions are simultaneously activated, but the valence of the construal levels move in opposite directions. As such, these studies contribute to both theory and practice by extending knowledge to include which types of construals are more salient when competing construals are triggered, and by helping marketing managers to identify the most effective advertising appeals for brand community members under these different conditions.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Bauer, Brittney. 2020. "Appealing to Divergent Brand Community Members - Adjusting Advertisements to Reflect Competing Construals (Starbucks Social Distance Experimental Study)." AEA RCT Registry. August 30. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6184-2.0.
Experimental Details
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
willingness to pay, brand response (brand favorability, brand interest, brand use)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This study uses a 2 (near vs. far social distance) x 2 (symbolic vs. utilitarian advertising appeal) between-subjects experimental design.
Experimental Design Details
First, participants will indicate their perceived social distance to both the brand and to other members of the brand community. Next, they will be randomly assigned to view one [of two] advertisement. The advertising messaging was manipulated to reflect either a symbolic appeal highlighting more emotional aspects of the products (i.e., “True delight in a cup. Here's to the best part of your day. / Smooth pleasure! / Taste pure happiness!"), or a utilitarian appeal highlighting more functional content related to the products (i.e., “Top quality in a cup. Here's to the best part of your day. / Slow-steeped & smooth! / Taste pure tropical fruit!”). All other aspects of the advertisement—logo, picture, etc.—were kept constant throughout all of the ads. Finally, participants responded to a short battery of attitude, behavioral, and demographic questions.
Randomization Method
Randomization will be done via the Qualtrics randomization tool in the survey flow.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is the individual (i.e., each individual will be randomly assigned to view one [of two] advertisement).
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
200 American consumers
Sample size: planned number of observations
200 American consumers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 American consumer with a symbolic advertisement, and 100 American consumers with a utilitarian advertisement.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
Loyola University Institutional Review Board (IRB 00001194)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB# 000164
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
July 30, 2020, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
302 American consumers
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
148 American consumer with a symbolic advertisement 154 American consumer with a utilitarian advertisement
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?

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Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)