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Summary

Two studies investigate the relationships between consumers' involuntary autobiographical memories evoked by visual cues on brand packages, their judgments of authenticity, emotion, and behavioral intention. Study 1 employs actual brand packages to show that two forms of authenticity, indexicality (a genuine historic link to the past), and iconicity (a symbolic link) influence behavioral intention through the diverging emotion elicited by nostalgic memories and perceived persuasive intent. Study 2 replicates effect with more abstract package stimuli from another product category and demonstrates an attenuating effect of cognitive load on consumer perception of persuasive intent. These findings contribute to the literature by the following: (i) disentangling the knotted emotional and mnemonic structure of nostalgia in commercial contexts; (ii) providing convergent empirical evidence for the divergent roles of indexicality and iconicity as two previously under-researched visual properties; and (iii) highlighting autobiographical memories and perceived persuasive intent as important mediators of effects on emotion. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.