Toronto: People who experience fear while watching a film feel a greater affiliation with a brand than those who watch films which evoke happiness, sadness or excitement, says fascinating research.
“Advertisers should consider offering up their brands as something to cling to in the dark when the knives come out and the blood starts to splatter,” said researcher Lea Dunn from University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business in Canada.
Consumers would cling to a product like Coke for comfort if watching a scary movie on their own, added Dunn.
This finding contradicts industry norms which see significantly fewer product placements in horror films compared to other genres.
People cope with fear by bonding with other people. When watching a scary movie, they look at each other and say ‘Oh my god!’ and their connection is enhanced.
“In the absence of friends, our research shows consumers would create heightened emotional attachment with a brand that happens to be on hand,” explained Dunn.
Fear stimulates people to report greater brand attachment even if they are limited to just seeing the product.
Enhanced feelings toward the brand were only generated if it was experienced at the same time as fear.
“If the product is presented afterward, no bond is created,” noted the study to be published in the forthcoming Journal of Consumer Research.
“Marketers are afraid of fear. Their worries about negative associations outweigh their desire to tap into the massive market commanded by fear-based entertainment such as horror films or video games,” Dunn contended.