Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

Spring 2012


Marketers have long understood that consumers' self-concepts influence the products they purchase; conversely, products purchased influence people's self-concepts. Might the same self-enhancement framework apply in to shared online advertisements? Using the symbolic interactionist perspective of identity theory, this study empirically tests the proposition that online consumers use electronic word of mouth, and specifically the sharing of online advertising, to construct and express their self-concepts. The results suggest that self-brand congruity, entertainment value, and product category involvement increase the self-expressiveness of online ads, which then increase the likelihood of sharing those ads. These findings have both theoretical and managerial implications.