Ads are not evaluated in isolation, and emotions invoked by them can affect adjacent products, according to a recent marketing study.
“Marketers typically don’t consider that the emotions produced in one marketing message may be influencing more than just our feelings toward the targeted product,” wrote Jonathan Hasford (Florida International University), David M. Hardesty (University of Kentucky), and Blair Kidwell (The Ohio State University). “Our study should encourage marketers to think about how the emotions we associate with one product may affect how we view the next product we encounter.”
The researchers conducted a series of studies to find out how emotions awakened by one marketing effort affected a consumer’s feelings toward another marketing effort. The first study, using posters of Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus, examined how a positive image (Swift) affected school supplies shopping after seeing a unfavorable image (Cyrus). Participants in a second study watched ads for a movie with a favorable celebrity (Will Smith) and an unfavorable one (Justin Bieber) and then viewed an ad for a shoe company and evaluated the shoe brand.
It was found that viewing the positive image increased consumer spending—viewing the negative image decreased spending. The same results held for the shoe study. A favorable image let participants to be more positive in their evaluations of the shoe brand.
“Whereas marketers often focus on price and prominence when purchasing ad space, this study stresses the importance of nearby ads and how they affect the primary message,” the authors wrote. “In television, this would mean considering ads airing directly before the target ad. In magazine advertising, marketers should consider ads on nearby pages. No matter how carefully designed, advertisements are not evaluated in isolation, and the emotions in one message can absolutely affect a neighboring product.”
So, once again, Taylor Swift wins.
(Image: Dean Hochman/Creative Commons)