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Notable Papers

On Brands and Word of Mouth

By Mitchell J. Lovett, Renana Peres & Ron Shachar

Brands and word of mouth (WOM) are cornerstones of the marketing
field, and yet their relationship has received relatively little attention. This study aims to enhance understanding of brand characteristics as
antecedents of WOM by executing a comprehensive empirical analysis.

Advertising, the matchmaker

By Bharat N. Anand & Ron Shachar

We empirically study the informational role of advertising in matching consumers with products when consumers are uncertain about both observable and unobserved program attributes. Our focus is on the network television industry, in which the products are television shows. We estimate a model that allows us to distinguish between the direct effect of advertising on utility and its effect through the information set.

Finding brands and losing your religion?

By Cutright, Keisha M.,Erdem, Tülin,Fitzsimons, Gavan J. & Shachar, Ron

Religion is a powerful force in many people’s lives, impacting decisions about life, death, and everything in between. It may be difficult, then, to imagine that something as seemingly innocuous as the usage of brand name products might influence individuals’ commitment to religion. However, we demonstrate across 6 studies that when brands are a highly salient tool for self-expression, individuals are less likely to report and demonstrate strong religious commitment. We suggest that a desire to maintain consistency among self-identities is one important driver of this relationship and find that the effect is mitigated when the perceived distance between brands and religious values is minimized.

Recent working papers

Is Storytelling Ability Related to the Sense of Meaning in Life?

By Mario Mikulincer & Ron Shachar

Having a sense of meaning has been shown to play a critical role in peoples’ lives – e.g. it improves physical health and subjective well-being. This study demonstrates that an overlooked personality trait – storytelling ability – is associated with this critical construct (meaning in life). Using three independent samples, we find that the relationship between storytelling ability and meaning is stable and strong and holds across two different cultures (US, Israel) and four different measures of meaning.

Sell me a story: On the role of conflict, and other story elements, in ads’ success

By Ron Shachar, Oded Netzer and Lev Muchnik

This paper investigates the role of stories in TV ads. It focuses on the effect of three theoretically-established story elements, that have not been explored previously, on actual consumers’ reactions to advertising. The three elements are “conflict” between two forces, “turning point” (i.e., a point in which good events are following bad events or vice versa), and “insight” (e.g., when the ad provides a meaningful perspective about human behavior). To examine the role of these story elements in determining ads’ success we collected data from over 400 ads appearing in Super Bowls XLIX – LV (2015-2021). Each ad was manually evaluated by experienced writers for the existence of story elements. We then assess the relationship between story element and three measures of ads success: (i) Ad evaluation as measure by USA Today’s Ad Meter, (ii) viewership of these ads on YouTube, and (iii) tweets commenting on these ads. Overall, we find that ads that have story elements (especially “conflict”, and “insight”) are more successful. Specifically, “conflict”, one of the most important elements of story narrative, is a significant and meaningful predictor of ads’ success across all three measures. Finally, we show that features extracted from ad videos (e.g., the brightness of the video) can predict the appearance of story elements. This finding suggests a promising avenue for future research to study the role of narrative in ads at scale.

Recently published papers

On the monetization of mobile apps

By Gil Appel, Barak Libai, Eitan Muller & Ron Shachar

Though the mobile app market is substantial and growing fast, most app providers struggle to monetize apps profitably. Monetizing apps is done in two ways: a) selling advertising space within a free version of the app, and b) selling a paid version, termed freemium or in-app purchase strategy.

When and Why Consumers “Accidently” Endanger Their Products

By Yaniv Shani, Gil Appel, Shai Danziger & Ron Shachar

In this research, we examine whether consumers may “accidently” endanger a product they own when a new version of the product is introduced. We propose owners endanger their product when they want to upgrade to a new version but have difficulty justifying the upgrade and that owners find justification more difficult when a new version offers an improved design but does not offer a significant technological improvement. Owners endanger their product hoping it will be “fortuitously” damaged. Product damage provides owners with a good reason to upgrade.

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