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Will you repeat that? Why context matters to message repetition

Running several ads for the same product in a magazine sometimes results in more positive consumer impressions. But what about all the times when recurrence seems not to matter" In the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, a new study deconstructs repetitive advertisements, revealing the factors that influence whether repeat exposures have an effect or not.

Prashant Malaviya (INSEAD, France) argues that ad repetition improves how we evaluate a product when two types of message elaboration work in concert. For example, an advertisement for a camera succeeds at “item-specific elaboration” if it helps the viewer remember the most distinctive feature of the camera, say, an extra-wide zoom lens. In addition, consumers also need to be reminded of the typical features of all cameras, which Malaviya refers to as “relational elaboration.”

“When the ad context and the ad content together induce item-specific and relational elaboration, product evaluation is more favorable and this effect is further enhanced by ad repetition,” Malaviya writes. “When the context and content prompt only one type of elaboration, product evaluation is less favorable and this effect is not mitigated by message repetition.”

However, Malaviya found that consumers with expertise related to the advertised product were prompted to perform relational elaboration even if the ad did not encourage it, and without the benefit of repetition. This suggests that repetitive advertising may be less effective in industry-specific trade publications.

Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
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