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Joe Damrongphiwat

First Name: Joe
Surname: Damrongphiwat
Department Dept of Marketing and Management
Supervisor(s): Professor Lawrence Ang , Professor Hume Winzar

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Paper Title

Eat me now: A grounded theory of appetite appeal for visual advertising design


This paper aims to establish a substantive framework of how food pictures appeal and persuade.


Visual depictions of food play an important role in evoking appetite for advertising design. Yet, there has not been a clear definition of what is meant by appetising. This research, the first of its kind, establishes a theory of how food pictures appeal and persuade grounded in the real voices of the image makers and consumers.

Key literature/theoretical perspective

This grounded theory of visual depictions and persuasion of food bridges existing theories of mental simulations and transportation in the advertising and media psychology literature.


The author interviewed 45 key informants (24 food stylists and photographers, and 21 consumers) based on a theoretical sampling technique. The in-depth interview data analysis was based on a grounded theory (Corbin and Strauss 2008) using the QSR NVivo program.


Findings reveal seven themes: 1) food; 2) props; 3) consumption process thoughts; 4) consumption outcome thoughts; 5) appetitive attitudes; 6) creative elements (used by the image makers); and 7) other factors influencing the visual depiction decisions and/or persuasion effects. Views towards half of the pictures selected for this paper are different among the creative professionals and consumers.

Research limitations/implications

This research illustrates typologies/constructs of visual depictions and persuasion of food. This framework provides opportunities for further investigations to uncover the power of food pictures.

Practical and Social implications

Implications for advertising practitioners on visual design of food advertisements, copy testing and creative brief development are provided.


Appetite appeal, advertising, food, visual depiction, persuasion