When and How Slow Motion Makes Products More Luxurious

This research examines when and how the speed of video ads influences consumers’ perceptions of luxuriousness and their subsequent behavior towards products or brands featured in the ads. Across 12 experiments (total N = 27,227, five preregistered), we demonstrate that when an ad depicts a product in slow motion (vs. regular speed), consumers perceive the featured product or brand as more luxurious. The effect emerges across various product categories (chocolate, shampoo, wine, mineral water) and in different countries (United States, United Kingdom, France). Tests of mediation and moderation suggest that the effect occurs because viewing a slow-motion ad increases feelings of immersion, which in turn lead consumers to expect greater hedonic value from the featured product and thus view it as more luxurious. Consistent with this account, the effect weakens when video features (blurriness and buffering) impair the immersive experience triggered by slow motion, and it attenuates for consumers very weakly or very strongly predisposed to experience immersion. Finally, by enhancing perceptions of luxuriousness, slow motion subsequently boosts consumers’ desire for the featured product or brand (as manifested by higher willingness-to-pay, purchase intentions, and ad click rates), particularly when the goal to consume luxury is salient (vs. not).