Presentation Title

Comic Relief: The Impact of Humorous Response in Service Recovery on Brand Perceptions

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Abstract or Description

While the use of humor appeal has been long researched in the area of advertisement, the role of humor in service recovery situations is all but non-existent. Based on research in the area of humor perception, using humor during a time of service failure could help a firm to break from the norm, be seen as ‘exciting’ or ‘cool,’ and diffuse tension with the surprise of eliciting a laugh; however it could also backfire and be perceived as inappropriate. The current study investigates the potential for humor to be utilized in responding to a service failure scenario, it’s impact upon both positive and negative consumer perceptions of the firm, and the moderating role of individual differences in need for humor. In a scenario-based experiment, 183 participants were exposed to either a humorous or non-humorous email from a company in response to an imaginary service failure. Results suggest that humor can increase positive perceptions of the firm in areas such as excitement and innovativeness, particularly for those consumers with high need for humor. However, humor also reduces perceptions of firm honesty, regardless of individual differences in need for humor.


Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Annual Conference (AMTP)


Ponte Vedra Beach, FL