Communication Strategies to Counter Deceptive Advertising

By Lord, Kenneth R.; Kim, Chung K. et al. | Review of Business, Spring 1997 | Go to article overview

Communication Strategies to Counter Deceptive Advertising


Lord, Kenneth R., Kim, Chung K., Putrevu, Sanjay, Review of Business


Introduction

An ethical problem in the contemporary business environment is deceptive advertising, which can mislead consumers and injure competitors. Though illegal in its most blatant forms, deceptive advertising can occur in subtle ways that are difficult to establish as outright deception, such as puffery, incomplete comparisons and implied superiority claims. While the problem is widely recognized, research about what makes consumers susceptible to deceptive advertising and how to prevent their being deceived by misleading messages is rare. Researchers have called for more conceptual and empirical research to help consumers recognize and discount deceptive messages [1].

This article reports the results of two studies that explore the factors that moderate consumer susceptibility to deceptive advertising and strategies that help prevent their being deceived by false or misleading claims. Variables examined include the copy style of an ad, the consumer's frame of reference at the time of message exposure, the consumer's store of product-relevant information in memory and the ability of products to influence the consumer's frame of reference.

Processing Influences

Consumers' feelings, beliefs, preferences and behavior are shaped by the amount and style of processing used when they are exposed to an advertising message [6]. Processing style determines the extent to which consumers recognize and reject misleading ad claims by affecting their levels of attention and skepticism.

Three variables shape the style of processing that consumers engage in when processing advertisements. Informational priming provides consumers with objective factual information to counter misleading ads in a format comparable to the tables used in Consumer Reports. Framing creates a cognitive or an affective frame of reference for processing the message. The copy style of an ad (attribute or emotion oriented) also affects processing style.

First Experiment

The effects of these variables were tested in an experiment involving a deceptive ad for an ice-cream bar. Details of the experimental design and statistical results are reported in Lord and Kim [6].

Informational Priming. Providing consumers with relevant objective facts before message exposure was expected to reduce deception. Informational priming creates accurate knowledge. By recalling this knowledge from memory and comparing it with deceptive information at the time of exposure to a misleading ad, consumers should be better able to recognize the falsity of a misleading claim.

Informational priming can also affect deception susceptibility by altering consumers' processing style. Primed by specific information about the relevance of a set of attributes to a product's quality or ability to deliver satisfaction, a consumer may be more likely to notice and evaluate attribute-relevant claims. Such an attribute-oriented processing style may render consumers less susceptible to deception.

Results of the first experiment confirmed the ability of information priming to lessen consumer deception. Subjects provided with substantiated information on relevant attributes of the test product generated more counter arguments and weaker beliefs, and attached less credibility to misleading ad claims than those who did not receive the priming manipulation.

Cognitive and Affective Framing. We expected processing style to vary as a function of the cognitive and affective motivations that prevailed at the time of exposure to an advertising message. A consumer whose processing style is cognitive would use the brain's left hemisphere to think about product attributes and features, while symbolic quality and image dimensions of the product would be processed at a lower level in the right brain. The opposite pattern would prevail for a consumer with an affective frame of reference.

We expected processing style to vary as a function of the cognitive and affective motivations that prevailed at the time of exposure to an advertising message.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Communication Strategies to Counter Deceptive Advertising
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.