What’s not to like? Negations in brand messages increase consumer engagement

Todd Pezzuti, James M. Leonhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


How do you increase consumer engagement with your marketing communications? We suggest using negations in your brand messaging (e.g., “It doesn’t get any better than this”). Four studies, including field studies that analyzed more than 53 million interactions between consumers and brands, find that consumers are more likely to engage with brands when their messages include negations. This occurs because brands seem more powerful when they use negations in their brand messaging, and consumers generally want to associate with more powerful brands. Moreover, the positive, indirect effect of negations on engagement, through perceived brand power, is stronger among consumers with a higher need for status. These findings deepen our understanding of the often-surprising ways seemingly innocuous language features influence consumers, including how they perceive and interact with brands. The managerial implications are straightforward—incorporate negations in your brand messaging, especially when communicating with those that desire status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-694
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Brand communications
  • Language
  • Need for status
  • Negation
  • Power


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