Visual Coherence in Dynamic Marketing Stimuli: A Grounded Theory Approach
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This research develops and tests a grounded-theory framework that provides new insights on how to create effective motion-based marketing stimuli such as motion graphics. Drawing upon theories such as gestalt psychology, recognition-by-components, visual complexity, experimental aesthetics, and graphic design, Studies 1-2 lay out an empirical groundwork that identifies the structure of design properties and three latent factors (i.e., figure-ground contrast, scene simplicity, and component coordination), which potentially affect how visually coherent a given motion graphic ad is. Next, a series of experimental studies tests whether and how the identified design parameters and factors shape visual coherence and downstream marketing outcomes. Study 3 demonstrates that component coordination – systematic movement patterns (e.g., symmetrical and parallel motion path, similarity in motion velocity) embedded in individual ad components – enhances perceived coherence, which in turn leads to greater product evaluations. Study 4 further shows that scene simplicity that leads overall ad scenes to be perceived as a single visual increases coherence and willingness to purchase. Going forward, Study 5 tests how scene simplicity interacts with component coordination. Study 5 demonstrates that when motion graphics ads are highly simple at the scene level, component coordination exclusively determines visual coherence. However, when the overall scenes in motion graphics ads are complicated, the fit between scene- and component-level factors drives visual coherence. In general, this research is among the first to develop a comprehensive, integrative framework that describes the various antecedents of visual coherence in motion graphics.