We examined the effect of vowel sounds contained in spokesperson names and spokesperson gender on consumer perceptions of spokesperson personality and brand personality evaluations. Using an experimental design across three studies, we found that when gender of the spokesperson is known, the vowel sounds contained in a spokesperson’s name only influenced personality traits when the spokesperson was a male. For example, a male spokesperson with a name that contained back vowel sounds (i.e. Odyn Tolley) was perceived as more charming, outdoorsy, and tough. The effect of vowel sounds in a spokesperson’s name on personality perceptions attenuated when the spokesperson was female. Further, the phonetic meaning derived from sounds in male spokesperson names was found to exert a greater influence on brand personality perceptions than phonetic meaning derived from sounds in brand names. Advertisers and marketing managers are advised to strategically name created spokespeople in line with desired personality perceptions and with careful consideration of spokesperson gender.
- Phonetic symbolism