Abstract

This research contributes to the current understanding of language effects in advertising by uncovering a previously ignored mechanism shaping consumer response to an increasingly globalized marketplace. We propose a language-specific episodic trace theory of language emotionality to explain how language influences the perceived emotionality of marketing communications. Five experiments with bilingual consumers show (1) that textual information (e.g., marketing slogans) expressed in consumers' native language tends to be perceived as more emotional than messages expressed in their second language, (2) that this effect is not uniquely due to the activation of stereotypes associated to specific languages or to a lack of comprehension, and (3) that the effect depends on the frequency with which words have been experienced in native- versus second-language contexts.

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