Abstract

Building on Grice's (1975) theory of “conversational implicature,” we propose that consumers will react favorably to unusual color or flavor names (e.g., blue haze or Alpine snow) because they expect marketing messages to convey useful information. If the message is not informative or does not conform to expectations, consumers search for the reason for the deviation. This search results in additional (positive) attributions about the product, and thus, a more favorable response. The results of a series of experiments provide empirical support for our proposal and rule out some alternative explanations for the success of ambiguous naming strategies.

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