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The effects of positive and
negative ad-evoked associations
on brand attitude
School of Management and Marketing, Marketing Research Innovation Centre, University of Wollongong, Australia, and
The effects of
Received February 2009
Revised June 2009
Accepted June 2009
Department of Marketing, University of Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to research on the cognitive capacity theory. The paper aims to examine the effects of advertising recipients’ positive and negative associations, that is their memories and fantasies evoked by the advertising stimulus, on brand attitude for advertisements that require little effort to process; focusing on positively framed advertisements. Design/methodology/approach – This paper suggests a model on the effects of positive and negative association on brand attitude and tests it using partial least square. Advertisements that are easy to process were selected in a pre-test.
Findings – It is shown that if advertisements are easy to process, the effects of consumers’ associations depend on their favourableness: positive associations have a positive effect and negative associations have a negative effect on brand attitude. These findings are an extension of knowledge on the effects of associations, because for informational advertisements previous research has demonstrated that associations generally have a negative effect on brand attitude. Practical implications – Results of this study suggest that evoking positive memories and fantasies in the target group enhances the effectiveness of advertisements that require little effort to process.
Originality/value – Effects of associations on brand attitude have not been studied for advertisements that require little effort to process. Previous studies have not distinguished positive and negative associations; this study analyses their effects separately. Keywords Advertising, Cognition, Consumer behaviour, Memory, Nostalgia, Brands Paper type Research paper
A consumer confronted with an advertisement giving information that a beer brand uses only organic ingredients and showing a Munich-Oktoberfest scenery may process that this beer is organic, and might fantasise partying with Bavarian girls dressed in dirndls or remember being sick after having Bavarian beer. This example demonstrates that advertising message recipients can rehearse thoughts mainly reflecting message content and the execution of the advertisement, and thoughts based on the recipient’s associations, reflecting previous experiences or imagination (Calder and Sternthal, 1980; Sujan et al., 1993). We use the term stimulus-based thought for the first type of thought and association for the second – associations being ad-evoked memories and fantasies. How do receivers’ positive and negative associations affect their brand attitude? The present paper contributes to research on the cognitive capacity theory, which suggests that consumers’ cognitive resources are limited (Daneman and Carpenter, 1980; Just and Carpenter, 1992; Kahneman, 1973). Because of these limited resources, processing of information, the elaboration on memories, for instance, and the generation of counterarguments must compete for the resources available (Bettman et al., 1998; Edell and Keller, 1989; Peracchio and Meyers-Levy, 1997). This may have
Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing
Vol. 21 No. 4, 2009
# Emerald Group Publishing Limited
the consequence that consumers miss important information, for instance, product arguments, when generating associations (Coulter, 2005). In the context of advertising, cognitive capacity theory has been studied with...
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