Upfront, Mystery, and False Front Advertising: Why Their Effects on Consumer Evaluation Depend on Exposure Duration
Posted: 2 Jul 2014
Date Written: September 30, 2013
This research compares three strategies that ads can use to convey which product and brand they promote, and it tests how these affect consumer evaluation and the resulting attitudes towards the ad and brand, under exposure durations that range from brief to long. Upfront ads immediately convey what they promote. Mystery ads convey what they promote only after closer inspection, and false front ads initially convey a different identity than their true one. Three controlled studies compare these strategies and investigate how they influence consumer subjective and objective knowledge and the impact that this has on attitudes towards the ad and the brand. They show that subjective knowledge, the sheer feeling of knowing what an ad promotes, improves consumer evaluation of the ad and brand, independent of objective knowledge, i.e., the accuracy of that feeling. Therefore, upfront ads are already evaluated positively after very brief exposures, mystery ads are evaluated positively only after longer exposures, and false front ads are evaluated positively after brief exposures but negatively after longer exposures. These findings demonstrate the crucial role that exposure duration plays in advertising identification, and how this contributes to consumer evaluation. Implications for advertising research and management are offered.
Keywords: Advertising, exposure duration, identification, evaluation, ad attitudes, brand attitudes, Bayesian models, multilevel mediation and moderation
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