Name Selection and Response to a Hypothetical Recreation Program


  • Ronald E. McCarville
  • Grant W. Garrow


Experiment, name, persuasion, willingness to pay, expectation, reference price


This paper explores the influence of name selection on subjects' preliminary assessments of a fitness facility. It is suggested that consumers often fail to reflect on traditional advertising messages, relying instead on names to make product assessments. As a result, names may represent one of the most important pieces of early communication that consumers receive regarding recreation opportunities. An experiment is reported in which the influence of different names was monitored. Hypothetical advertisements regarding a fitness facility were provided to 180 subjects. These advertisements contained a background message and one of two names. The first name focused on benefits of participation, while the second highlighted attributes of the fitness facility. Both approaches are common within the recreation programming community. Name selection altered subjects' price expectations by as much as 46 percent and willingness-to-pay levels by as much as 47 percent. The name focusing on benefits generated the highest price expectations and willingness-to-pay levels. It is concluded that relevant cues like names are used to assess new product offerings. Consequently, the communication of leisure opportunities should begin with judicious name selection.





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