Consumer affective responses to direct mail messages: The effect of gratitude and obligation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The research opens new ways of utilizing emotional content in direct mail messages. The study considered the capacity of gratitude (e.g. to personnel for services received) and obligation (e.g. to make a purchase) to act as separate affective influences upon consumer purchase intent and attitudes toward the company. Participants (N = 120) were exposed to direct mail copy text in mock postcards sent from a hypothetical winery to its visitors. A total of six postcards were used (two gratitude-inducing, two obligation-inducing, and two neutral controls). The study offers strong evidence that gratitude and obligation operate differently in their impact on consumer attitudes and behaviors. Gratitude exerts a more positive influence than does obligation. Communicating through gratitude, and even neutral, messages was found to be more persuasive than those messages conveying obligation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-353
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marketing Communications
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • affective responses
  • direct mail messages
  • reciprocity


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