Abstract Transformational appeals hold enormous promise for retailers. These appeals go beyond providing concrete, factual data to making the consumer's actual experience more enjoyable. A field study and a controlled, follow-up experiment are conducted to empirically assess the efficacy of transformational appeals compared to informational appeals in retail settings. Results suggest that transformational advertising affects consumers’ initial retail experiences, but are not effective when a consumption experience is already well defined. Further, transformational appeals enhance hedonic and symbolic benefits but do not appear to affect evaluations of functional benefits. The underlying processes guiding these effects and implications for marketing theory and practice are discussed.