The Pet Exposure Effect: Exploring the Differential Impact of Dogs Versus Cats on Consumer Mindsets

Lei Jia, Xiaojing Yang, Yuwei Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Despite the ubiquity of pets in consumers’ lives, scant research has examined how exposure to them (e.g., recalling past interactions with dogs and cats, viewing ads featuring a dog or a cat) influences consumer behavior. The authors demonstrate that exposure to dogs (cats) reminds consumers of the stereotypical temperaments and behaviors of the pet species, which activates a promotion- (prevention-) focused motivational mindset among consumers. Using secondary data, Study 1 shows that people in states with a higher percentage of dog (cat) owners Google more promotion- (prevention-) focused words and report a higher COVID-19 transmission rate. Using multiple products, Studies 2 and 3 demonstrate that these regulatory mindsets, when activated by pet exposure, carry over to influence downstream consumer judgments, purchase intentions, and behaviors, even in pet-unrelated consumption contexts. Study 4 shows that pet stereotypicality moderates the proposed effect such that the relationship between pet exposure and regulatory orientations persists to the extent consumers are reminded of the stereotypical temperaments and behaviors of the pet species. Studies 5–7 examine the role of regulatory fit and evince that exposure to dogs (cats) leads to more favorable responses toward advertising messages featuring promotion- (prevention-) focused appeals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marketing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 2022


  • advertising
  • COVID-19
  • pets
  • regulatory orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing

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