Rik Pieters

Tilburg University, Tilburg, North Brabant, Netherlands

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Publications (133)192 Total impact

  • Millie Elsen · Rik Pieters · Michel Wedel

    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Marketing Research
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    ABSTRACT: This research tests the idea that goal-pursuit that requires extended inhibition of desires, such as weight loss and financial saving, can benefit from including planned hedonic deviations in the goal-striving plan. Two controlled experiments (simulated and real dieting) demonstrate that including planned goal deviations during extended goal striving, compared with following a straight and rigid goal striving process, (1) helps regain self-regulatory resources, (2) helps maintain consumers’ motivation to pursue with regulatory tasks, and (3) has a positive impact on affect experienced, which all contribute to facilitate long-term goal- adherence. A third study, conducted with current goal-strivers provides further evidence of the benefits of planned hedonic deviations for goal pursuit across a variety of goals. This reveals that it may be beneficial for long-term goal-success to occasionally be bad, as long it is planned.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Journal of Consumer Psychology
  • Michel Wedel · Rik Pieters
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    ABSTRACT: What is the role that color plays in consumers’ perception of the gist of ads during the increasingly brief and blurred exposures in practice? Two studies address this question. The first study manipulates the level of blur of the exposure and the presence or absence of color in the ad image, during exposures that lasted 100 milliseconds (msec). It reveals a buffer effect of color: color contributes little to gist perception when sufficient visual detail is available and ads are typical, but color enables consumers to continue to perceive the gist of ads accurately when the exposure is blurred. The second study finds that color inversion of the entire ad deteriorates gist perception, but that color inversion of the background scene does not affect gist perception when the exposure is blurred. This provides evidence that the color composition of the central object in the ad scene plays a key role in protecting the gist perception of advertising under adverse exposure conditions. The underlying mechanism is likely to be cognitive rather than sensory. Implications for advertising theory and design are discussed.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Marketing Science
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    ABSTRACT: When buying wine, consumers often need to infer unobservable characteristics of the wines that are available. Product scarcity in the store can signal that the quality of a wine is high, either because the product is deemed exclusive (when scarcity is supply-caused) or because the product is deemed popular (when scarcity is demand-caused). This “scarcity principle” has been observed in various contexts, and thus seems universal, but it is not. This study aims to show when scarcity of a specific wine increases consumer choice for this wine, and when it does not. Specifically, two experiments show that scarcity has little or no effect when consumers are less involved with the product category wine, that uniqueness goals can increase the effect of supply-caused scarcity on product choice, and that these uniqueness goals do not counteract the effect of demand-caused scarcity on choice. Thus, even consumers with a uniqueness goal respond positively to demand-caused scarcity. Moreover, the study shows that scarcity is effectively communicated not only through a verbal sales pitch but also through merely the visual display of the amount of shelf space provided for products and the amount emptied shelf space as a signal of prior purchases.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Food Quality and Preference
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    ABSTRACT: The authors investigate the role of market orientation in advertising spending during economic contraction. They use the 2001 economic collapse in Turkey as the empirical context in which to test hypotheses regarding why some firms increase their advertising spending in a contraction period while the majority of firms cut back. Analyzing market orientation at the level of its intelligence and responsiveness facets, they find the responsiveness facet to be positively associated with increases in advertising spending but observe the intelligence facet to be negatively associated with advertising spending. Importantly, positive shifts in advertising spending during the economic contraction predict better subsequent business performance. The opposing roles of the intelligence and responsiveness facets disappear in a subsequent economic expansion period. These findings have managerial and theoretical implications. Firms that nurture the responsiveness facet of market orientation during economic contractions go against the tide to increase their advertising spending and experience the performance benefits that such countercyclical actions can amass.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Journal of Marketing Research
  • Takuya Satomura · Michel Wedel · Rik Pieters
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    ABSTRACT: The authors propose a method and metric to quantify the consumer confusion between leading brands and copycat brands that results from the visual similarity of their packaging designs. The method has three components. First, image processing techniques establish the objective similarity of the packages of leading and copycat brands on the basis of their colors and textures. Second, a perceptual decision task (triangle test) assesses the accuracy and speed with which consumers can identify differences between brands from rapidly (300 milliseconds) flashed images of their packages. Third, a competing accumulator model describes the buildup of evidence on each of the alternative brands during consumers' perceptual decisions and predicts the accuracy and response time of brand identification. Jointly, these components establish the impact of copycat packaging's visual features on consumer confusion. The method is applied in a test of experimentally designed copycats and market copycats in 15 product categories. A three-tiered metric ("copy alert," "copy watch," and "copy safe") establishes the extent to which copycat brands imitate the package designs of target brands and identifies which visual features are responsible.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2014 · Journal of Marketing Research
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    Rik Pieters
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    ABSTRACT: This research is the first to test the hypothesis that consumers face a “material trap” in which materialism fosters social isolation which in turn reinforces materialism. It provides evidence that materialism and loneliness are engaged in bidirectional relationships over time. Importantly, it finds that loneliness contributes more to materialism than the other way around. Moreover, it finds that materialism’s contribution to loneliness is not uniformly vicious but critically differs between specific subtypes of materialism. That is, valuing possessions as a happiness medicine or as a success measure increased loneliness, and these subtypes also increased most due to loneliness. Yet seeking possessions for material mirth decreased loneliness and was unaffected by it. These findings are based on longitudinal data from over 2,500 consumers across 6 years and a new latent growth model. They reveal how materialism and loneliness form a self-perpetuating vicious and virtuous cycle depending on the materialism subtype.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Consumer Research
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    Femke Van Horen · Rik Pieters
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    ABSTRACT: Copycat brands try to entice consumers by imitating the trade-dress of leading brands. Recent research suggests that preferences for copycat brands relative to more differentiated brands are generally lower. That is, consumers tend to dislike such "imitation" brands, because of psychological reactance. Three experiments provide evidence in support of the counter hypothesis that preferences for copycats, rather than being generally negative, critically depend on consumers' uncertainty. When uncertainty about product quality is low, people dislike copycat brands, but this preference reverses when uncertainty is high - despite awareness of the imitation tactics being used. We speculate that this preference reversal occurs because the familiar feel of the copycat is interpreted positively when being uncertain, but negatively when being certain. This double-edged effect of brand similarity has implications for preference theory, consumer decision-making, and managerial practice.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of Economic Psychology
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    Rik Pieters · Femke van Horen
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    ABSTRACT: Copycat brands imitate the trade dress of a leader brand to free ride on the latter’s equity. Copycats can imitate the distinctive, perceptual features of the leader brand, such as the lilac color of the Milka chocolate brand, or they can imitate the underlying meaning or theme of the leader brand, such as the “freshness of Alpine milk” theme in Milka. Marketing research and trademark law have mostly focused on the effects of feature imitation. In three studies, the authors demonstrate the success of copycats imitating the theme of the leader brand. Consumers consider feature imitation to be unacceptable and unfair, which causes reactance towards the copycat brand. Yet, even though consumers are aware of the use of theme imitation, it is perceived to be more acceptable and less unfair, which helps copycat evaluation.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · International Journal of Research in Marketing
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    ABSTRACT: Envy is a frustrating emotion that arises from upward social comparison. Two studies investigated the appraisals that distinguish benign envy (aimed at improving one's own situation) from malicious envy (aimed at pulling down the superior other). Study 1 found that appraisals of deservingness and control potential differentiated both types of envy. We manipulated these appraisals in Study 2 and found that while both did not influence the intensity of envy, they did determine the type of envy that resulted. The more a situation was appraised as undeserved, the more participants experienced malicious envy. Benign envy was experienced more when the situation was not undeserved, and the most when the situation was appraised as both deserved and controllable. The current research also clarifies how the types of envy differ from the related emotions admiration and resentment.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Motivation and Emotion
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    T. Texeira · Michel Wedel · Rik Pieters
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    ABSTRACT: This study shows how advertisers can leverage emotion and attention to engage consumers in watching Internet video advertisements. In a controlled experiment, the authors assessed joy and surprise through automated facial expression detection for a sample of advertisements. They assessed concentration of attention through eye tracking and viewer retention by recording zapping behavior. This allows tests of predictions about the interplay of these emotions and interperson attention differences at each point in time during exposure. Surprise and joy effectively concentrate attention and retain viewers. However, importantly, the level rather than the velocity of surprise affects attention concentration most, whereas the velocity rather than the level of joy affects viewer retention most. The effect of joy is asymmetric, with higher gains for increases than losses for decreases. Using these findings, the authors develop representative emotion trajectories to support ad design and testing.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of Marketing Research
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    FEMKE VAN HOREN · RIK PIETERS
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    ABSTRACT: Copycats imitate features of leading brands to free ride on their equity. The prevailing belief is that the more similar copycats are to the leader brand, the more positive their evaluation is, and thus the more they free ride. Three studies demonstrate when the reverse holds true: Moderate-similarity copycats are actually evaluated more positively than high-similarity copycats when evaluation takes place comparatively, such as when the leader brand is present rather than absent. The results demonstrate that blatant copycats can be less and subtle copycats can be more perilous than is commonly believed. This finding has implications for marketing theory and practice and trademark law.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Journal of Marketing Research
  • Rik Pieters · Michel Wedel
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    ABSTRACT: Most ads in practice receive no more than a single eye fixation. This study investigates the limits of what ads can communicate under such adverse exposure conditions. We find that consumers already know at maximum levels of accuracy and with high degree of certainty whether something is an ad or is editorial material after an exposure of less than 100 milliseconds and — if the ad is typical — which product is being advertised. Even after an extremely coarse visual presentation of 100 milliseconds, the product and brand in typical ads are identified well above chance levels, with atypical ads doing slightly better at the brand level. We propose a new metric that quantifies how effectively individual ads communicate their gist in adverse exposure conditions and that predicts the immediate interest that ads draw. Bayesian mediation analyses show that because of their better gist performance, typical ads rather than atypical ones raise immediate interest after very brief exposures. These findings challenge some of the received knowledge in advertising theory and practice, and they reveal the immediate communication benefits of typical ads.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Marketing Science
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    ABSTRACT: Consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that elicit their envy. The more people compared themselves to a superior other, the higher the envy premium was. Yet, the emotion envy and not the upward comparison drove the final effects. The envy premium only emerged for a desirable product that the superior other owned (iPhone) when people experienced benign envy. Benign envy is elicited when the other's superior position is deserved, and malicious envy when it is undeserved. When people experienced malicious envy, the envy premium emerged for a desirable product that the superior other did not own (BlackBerry). This shows how benign envy places a premium on keeping up, and malicious envy on moving away from, superior others.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of Consumer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Four studies tested the hypothesis that the emotion of benign envy, but not the emotions of admiration or malicious envy, motivates people to improve themselves. Studies 1 to 3 found that only benign envy was related to the motivation to study more (Study 1) and to actual performance on the Remote Associates Task (which measures intelligence and creativity; Studies 2 and 3). Study 4 found that an upward social comparison triggered benign envy and subsequent better performance only when people thought self-improvement was attainable. When participants thought self-improvement was hard, an upward social comparison led to more admiration and no motivation to do better. Implications of these findings for theories of social emotions such as envy, social comparisons, and for understanding the influence of role models are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
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    Ralf van der Lans · Michel Wedel · Rik Pieters
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    ABSTRACT: We propose a new fully automated velocity-based algorithm to identify fixations from eye-movement records of both eyes, with individual-specific thresholds. The algorithm is based on robust minimum determinant covariance estimators (MDC) and control chart procedures, and is conceptually simple and computationally attractive. To determine fixations, it uses velocity thresholds based on the natural within-fixation variability of both eyes. It improves over existing approaches by automatically identifying fixation thresholds that are specific to (a) both eyes, (b) x- and y- directions, (c) tasks, and (d) individuals. We applied the proposed Binocular-Individual Threshold (BIT) algorithm to two large datasets collected on eye-trackers with different sampling frequencies, and compute descriptive statistics of fixations for larger samples of individuals across a variety of tasks, including reading, scene viewing, and search on supermarket shelves. Our analysis shows that there are considerable differences in the characteristics of fixations not only between these tasks, but also between individuals.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Behavior Research Methods
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    ABSTRACT: The fear of being envied makes people act prosocially, in an attempt to ward off the potentially destructive effects of envy. In three experiments, people who were in a superior position and could be envied were more likely than control participants to give time-consuming advice to a potentially envious person or to help a potentially envious person pick up erasers she had accidentally scattered. However, helping behavior increased only if envy was likely to be malicious rather than benign. People who were better off did not increase their helping behavior toward people in general, but increased their helping only toward the potentially envious. This finding is consistent with the idea that the better off act more prosocially as an appeasement strategy. The fear of being envied serves useful group functions, because it triggers prosocial behavior that is likely to dampen the potentially destructive effects of envy and simultaneously helps to improve the situation of people who are worse off.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Psychological Science
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    Richard P. Bagozzi · Rik Pieters
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    ABSTRACT: This research explores the role of emotions in goal-directed behaviour. A model is provided for an emotional goal system whereby appraisals of the consequences of achieving or not achieving a goal are hypothesised to elicit anticipatory emotions; the anticipatory emotions are expected, in turn, to contribute to volitions in the service of goal pursuit (namely, intentions, plans, and the decision to expend energy); goal-directed behaviours next arise in response to volitions and lead to goal attainment; and the latter then functions as the basis for a new set of appraisals and accompanying goaloutcome emotions. The model was tested in a longitudinal study of the responses of 406 adults (243 women, 163 men) in The Netherlands. The context for the study was the regulation of one's bodyweight via exercising and dieting.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Cognition and Emotion
  • Thales S. Teixeira · Michel Wedel · Rik Pieters
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    ABSTRACT: We develop a conceptual framework about the impact that branding activity (the audiovisual representation of brands) and consumers' focused versus dispersed attention have on consumer moment-to-moment avoidance decisions during television advertising. We formalize this framework in a dynamic probit model and estimate it with Markov chain Monte Carlo methods. Data on avoidance through zapping, along with eye tracking on 31 commercials for nearly 2,000 participants, are used to calibrate the model. New, simple metrics of attention dispersion are shown to strongly predict avoidance. Independent of this, central on-screen brand positions, but not brand size, further promote commercial avoidance. Based on the model estimation, we optimize the branding activity that is under marketing control for ads in the sample to reduce commercial avoidance. This reveals that brand pulsing--while keeping total brand exposure constant--decreases commercial avoidance significantly. Both numerical simulations and a controlled experiment using regular and edited commercials, respectively, provide evidence of the benefits of brand pulsing to ward off commercial avoidance. Implications for advertising management and theory are addressed.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Marketing Science
  • Rik Pieters · Michel Wedel · Rajeev Batra
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    ABSTRACT: Advertising needs to capture consumers' attention in likable ways, and the visual complexity of advertising plays a central role in this regard. Yet ideas about visual complexity effects conflict, and objective measures of complexity are rare. The authors distinguish two types of visual complexity, differentiate them from the difficulty of comprehending advertising, and propose objective measures for each. Advertisements are visually complex when they contain dense perceptual features ("feature complexity") and/or when they have an elaborate creative design ("design complexity"). An analysis of 249 advertisements that were tested with eye-tracking shows that, as the authors hypothesize, feature complexity hurts attention to the brand and attitude toward the ad, whereas design complexity helps attention to both the pictorial and the advertisement as a whole, its comprehensibility, and attitude toward the ad. This is important because design complexity is under direct control of the advertiser. The proposed measures can be readily adopted to assess the visual complexity of advertising, and the findings can be used to improve the stopping power of advertisements.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2010 · Journal of Marketing

Publication Stats

5k Citations
192.00 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1984-2015
    • Tilburg University
      • • Department of Marketing
      • • Department of Social Psychology
      • • CentER for Research in Economics and Business " CentER"
      Tilburg, North Brabant, Netherlands
  • 2010
    • University of Michigan
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • 1988
    • Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 1987
    • Leiden University
      Leyden, South Holland, Netherlands