Macquarie University
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Multi-modal food story immersion: a persuasion mechanism and theory of photographic depiction of food products in advertising and marketing

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posted on 2022-03-28, 18:30 authored by Joseph N. Pitt
Photographic depictions of food products are critical creative elements for food advertising and marketing practice (e.g., photographic food ads and packages) to induce consumer purchase intention. Research streams on the effect of photographic depiction types on consumer responses in the advertising and marketing contexts have emerged since the early 1990s. Such research has provided useful insights. However, the significant effect of photographic depictions on multi-modal and precise consumer mental imageries, their follow-on effects on purchase intention and connections to other existing advertising communications theory are still not well established. This thesis puts forward a new proposition, called the multi-modal food story immersion (MFSI) theory of persuasion, where consumers engage in several aspects of self-referencing when they look at food images. This is a complex form of mental imagery that goes beyond visual imagery investigated in previous research. This thesis investigates this phenomenon and presents the results in three papers as follows: 1) reviews the literature on photographic depiction of food over the past 20 years and conducts grounded research with food stylists and photographers revealing new insights for the development of the MFSI construct; 2) validates the existence of the MFSI construct empirically; and 3) uses path analysis to examine the effects of MFSI in a traditional advertising persuasion model and the effects of individual difference on that model. This thesis significantly contributes to the advertising and marketing literature by introducing a new and empirically verified immersion construct (i.e. MFSI) that is grounded in consumer voice. It opens up new avenues of research by suggesting a new persuasion path when consumers look at food images.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Over 20 years of research on photographic depiction of food in marketing and new insights from expert practioner interviews: a synthesis and integration (Paper 1) -- 3. Multi-modal food story immersion (MFSI): a new persuasion mechanism grounded in consumer voice and its role in inducing purchase intention (Paper 2) -- 4. Seduced by food ads: the role of photographic depictions, gender, food types, personal importance of social food experience and immersions (Paper 3) -- 5. Conclusion -- Appendices.


Includes bibliographical references Thesis by publication. "This thesis is presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Marketing and Management"--Title page.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing and Management

Department, Centre or School

Department of Marketing and Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Lawrence Ang

Additional Supervisor 1

Hume Winzar


Copyright Joseph N. Pitt 2015. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xiv, 227 pages) illustrations

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