Emotional Ads

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THE IMPACT OF EMOTIONAL ADVERTISING APPEALS ON CONSUMER IMPLICIT AND EXPLICIT MEMORY: AN ACCESSIBILITY/DIAGNOSTICITY PERSPECTIVE

Patti Williams The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania

May 2000

Rough working draft. Please do not quote without author’s permission.

Patti Williams is Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1400 Steinberg/Dietrich Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Thanks to Carol Scott, Jennifer Aaker, Bob Bjork, Gavan Fitzsimons, Debbie MacInnis and Don Morrison for their generous donations of time and support to my dissertation research, upon which this paper is based. Special thanks to Jennifer for her insight and editing skills in creating this version of the paper. This research was funded in part by the Procter and Gamble Marketing Innovation Fund. Particular thanks to Chris Allen for his efforts in facilitating my relationship with P & G.

Abstract Emotional advertisements have a substantial impact on consumer attitudes, as well as upon purchase intentions. However, research on the influence of emotional appeals on memory has been somewhat mixed, with some researchers asserting that they result in poor consumer memory, while others argue that if tested properly, they have a substantial impact. The current research addresses these mixed results by relying on an accessibility/diagnosticity framework to explore the effect of emotions on consumer implicit and explicit memory. Explicit memory performance is characterized as relying upon both the accessibility of memory traces and their relative diagnosticity in contrast with other inputs. In contrast, implicit memory performance is primarily driven by accessibility alone. Results from two experiments are supportive of this perspective. The first experiment demonstrates that overall emotional advertising appeals have a bigger impact on implicit…...

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