Advertising, Memory, and Mood
Consider a typical woman named Mary. Mary wakes up at 7am and gets ready for work. After her husband kisses her goodbye, she sits down to watch a bit of the cheery morning news. Throughout the news she sees a few commercials, one for Folgers, one for Ragu Pizza sauce, and one for Gillete gel shaving cream. She watches them with hope and optimism for the new day.
Nine hours later, Mary ducks out of rush-hour traffic on the way home from work to do some grocery shopping. Tired and a bit discouraged from a long day, she shops the aisles and makes decisions on what to buy. The advertisers of those commercials she saw this morning hope she remembers their products. Mary walks by the Ragu and the Folgers and doesn’t remember a thing. She was practically a different person when she saw those commercials, in completely different mood and mindset.
In this paper, we will explore the importance of mood-state dependent memory on advertising effectiveness. We investigate this phenomenon by measuring advertising information recall under different mood conditions at exposure and retrieval.
Television advertising spending United States will exceed an estimated $50 billion in 2001.1 A study conducted by the Magazine Publishers of America found that brand firms spend an average of 77% of their advertising budgets on television.2 The return on this significant investment is heavily reliant upon consumers’ ability to remember product information presented in the commercials.
Researchers have noted that the effectiveness of television advertising can depend on both the characteristics of the individual viewer as well as the medium.3 In the past two decades, the number of television commercials grew by more than 35 percent.4 At the same time, commercials have been getting shorter, as the use of 15-second spots has increased. The brevity of the commercials, along with advertising clutter, has raised the challenge for advertisers to create memorable advertising messages for consumers. However, very few studies have been conducted to understand what factors will influence consumers’ ability to remember the commercials they see.
Mood and memory
One characteristic of a consumer that has been shown to affect memory is their mood. What follows is a summary of the prevailing research on the relationship between mood and memory.
Research has shown that when communications of concepts match the mood of the subject, they are also better accepted and recalled5,6. Mood congruent memory or processing, is a phenomenon in which a person's mood can sensitize the person to take in mainly information that agrees with that mood. Material that is congruent with the mood becomes salient so that the person attends to it more deeply than to other material. The person thinks about that material more deeply and engages in more extensive elaboration. As a result, the person learns this material better than non-mood-congruent material. For instance, when happy, people will pay more attention to and therefore better remember pleasant things. Interestingly, the effect seems to be stronger for positive mood than for negative mood. One explanation for this is that people in a negative mood often try to regulate their moods by not thinking about negative things, which in turn can prevent mood congruent memories.
Mood congruent preference
The mood-priming theory suggests that people will tend to dwell on, or even prefer, situations, people and things that confirm their current feelings.7
For Example, in a 1982 study8, students were induced into a mood by writing about happy or sad experiences from their lives. They were then asked to examine a series of scenes—some happy and some sad-- going at their own pace, dwelling on each scene according to how much it interested them. If the subjects were happy, they spent more...
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