Significant Objects: How Eudaimonic Narratives Enhance the Value of Featured Products

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Eudaimonic narratives, which past work identifies as stories featuring themes related to virtue and life’s higher purpose, are increasingly prevalent in advertisements and marketing communications. The current research examines whether this type of narrative achieves advertiser-desired outcomes. If these outcomes are achieved, how? The results from five studies demonstrate that eudaimonic narratives enhance the value of, attitude toward, and purchase intentions for products featured in the story. This occurs because the product becomes a symbol for the meaningful theme communicated in the narrative. The effect of eudaimonic narratives on valuation is stronger when a product is central to the narrative plot and when consumers have experienced a threat to their worldview coherence; the effect disappears when people consider giving the focal product as a gift.