Wright, Christopher William (2020) Blowing in the Wind? An investigation into the effect of advertising music on consumer habitus. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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The potential rewards of utilising music within an industrial environment has gained a good level of academic traction within recent years with studies exploring music as a potential facilitator in consumer experience, creating first impressions and even dictating compliance on immoral actions. A further number of researchers have directly examined the use of advertising music in relation to persuasiveness, influence on purchase and the possibility of creating conditioned responses. At the moment, it would seem that there is a lot of contradictory evidence due to the complexity of the topic, but there is however one central issue that gives rise to this thesis. None of the current research contains a real focus on consumer needs and does not have a detailed picture of a contemporary consumer or their attitudes and relationship with the music and brands being advertised to them. This may stem from the vast majority of research being based on a positivistic research ideology looking at ‘what’ is happening with no real explanation as to ‘why’, indicating this is an area that is in need of a different philosophical approach to create detailed insight over what may be considered unquestionable factual underpinning. This research seeks to address this gap by utilising Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice to represent a modern and fluid contemporary consumer culture and in particular apply the theory of Habitus, Cultural Capital and Field. This framework has allowed the researcher to investigate the complex and sometimes contradictory consumer needs when assessing the potential impact that music has on advertising to consumers. Utilising a small sample size, a lifestyle audit to address Cultural Capital and semi-structured interviews, the research has produced a number of important outputs that can be seen to add to knowledge within this topic area. Firstly, the research has produced a feasible interpretive model of how the concept of a 'Musical Habitus' can be applied to advertising by exploring the subject's personal relationships with music and how they view it in an industrial setting. This initial finding also illustrates a second key proposition of what musical congruency in advertising can actually consist of for both consumers with a high level of engagement in music and those who lack interest. Congruency was underpinned by a demand for elements such as positive messages to create positive emotions, desired genres of music, links to artists and desired connections to the subject's own personal belief systems. The higher interest group were also found to be able to use more congruent music to create positive attitudes towards a brand unlike the lower level of engagement group who did not demonstrate anymore motivation to engage with brand, or possess the ability to create positive attitudes as a direct result of the music. This lack of engagement from the lower interest group, however, also leads to the final prevalent knowledge claim.
Thirdly, and perhaps most interestingly, the research found that music was a prevailing hygiene factor for consumers. It was demonstrated that music could not create positive attitudes in all cases (i.e. in the lower musical engagement group), but, however it was demonstrated that if music lacked congruency (or music was actively disliked), it did encourage a pro-active disengagement with the promotion in both groups. Music therefore does not necessarily always incite commitment to brands but it will create negative connotations and undesired behaviours if it is not in line with consumer tastes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: This electronic version of the thesis has been edited solely to ensure compliance with copyright legislation and excluded material is referenced in the text. The full, final, examined and awarded version of the thesis is available for consultation in hard copy via the University Library.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Habitus, Bourdieu, musical congruency, Cultural Capital, advertising
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Keele Management School
Contributors: Tresidder, Richard (Thesis advisor)
Surman, Emma (Thesis advisor)
Hirst, Craig (Thesis advisor)
Cropper, Andy (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2020 08:49
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2020 08:49
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/8305

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