I just saw this posting popping up on Facebook. It is a great example of anthropomorphism in communication messages. In this posting, Febreze compares itself with no-name competitors. Besides functional differences, Febreze focuses on more symbolic attributes. The competition is presented as smaller and a lot of gray colors. In contrast, Febreze is presented in large on a ‘juicy sky-blue’ background. So far, this is not very unique or uncommon. However…
Source: Febreze on Facebook.
Brand Anthropomorphism at Febreze
…one interesting detail can be found at the sockets. Since I started doing research on brand anthropomorphism, American sockets always reminded me of anthropomorphism. But in this case, I really found a Marketing example how even the type of anthropomorphism is manipulated with sockets. For Febreze, a ‘smiling socket’ is used. In contrast, ‘sad face’ is used for the competition. Prior research has shown that small differences in the design can influence how human-like people perceive things. In this case, the intention is probably to evoke positive feelings for Febreze and negative ones for the low price competition. Research shows that anthropomorphism is a strong predictor of brand relationships, including brand love. Moreover, in this research we even showed that brand anthropomorphism is a better predictor of brand love than brand quality for people’s favorite brands. Anyway: Not a bad example of anthropomorphism! Will serve as a classroom example in the future.
Here is the posting again in more detail:
Edit: some users seem to catch this:
What is anthropomorphism? Here is a definition.
“The primary definition of anthropomorphism is “the tendency to imbue the real or imagined behavior of nonhuman agents with humanlike characteristics, motivations, intentions, or emotions” (Epley et al 2007, p. 864). Whereas this definition of anthropomorphism refers to a psychological phenomenon (henceforth anthropomorphic thinking), the word can also be used to refer to humanlike features of objects that inspire such thinking, i.e. anthropomorphic product features such car headlights and grills that resemble human faces (Landwehr et al 2011).” (Source)
In a related study, we looked at the effect of brand personality, a related concept, on brand love and WOM.
…and by the way: They are also doing a great job in Social Media Marketing (click here to read what this is!).
Epley, N., Waytz, A. and Cacioppo, J. T. (2007) On seeing human: a three-factor theory of anthropomorphism. Psychological review 114(4): 864–886.
Landwehr, J. R., McGill, A. L., & Herrmann, A. (2011) It’s Got the Look: The Effect of Friendly and Aggressive “Facial” expressions on product liking and sales.” Journal of Marketing 75(3): 132–146.