The Effects of Advertising Messages about a Non-Target Product on the Evaluation of a Target Product: An Experimental Study

By Chang, Horng-Jinh; Huang, Chih-Wen et al. | International Journal of Management, June 2002 | Go to article overview
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The Effects of Advertising Messages about a Non-Target Product on the Evaluation of a Target Product: An Experimental Study

Chang, Horng-Jinh, Huang, Chih-Wen, Tai, Ai-Ping, International Journal of Management

A two experiments, we manipulate the advertising messages of non-target product and investigate their effects on evaluation of target product. The results of the two experiments shown that sensitivity to the limitations of evidence and the likelihood of judgmental moderation increases if (1) a target product is evaluated in the non-target product described on judgment relevant dimensions with differ from those used in describing the target or (2) a target is judged in the non-target of a completely different type of product described by a relatively large amount of messages. The findings from this paper have indicated that the effect depends on the type and amount of attribute message provided to the non-target product.


The amount of message used to form an overall evaluation on product influences the extremity of the overall evaluation and confidence in that evaluation is suggested by Information Integration theory (Anderson 1967,1981,1982,1991; Louviere 1988; Lynch 1985; Troutman and Shanteau 1976; Sanbonmatsu et al. 1997,1998). The information is then combined, according to an integration rule (e.g., the average rule), into an overall evaluation of the product (Meyer 1981; McCann 1982; Kardes & Kalyanaram, 1992). There are many studies in the field of information integration. The most interesting and valuable findings is the set-size effect - the overall evaluation of an object becomes more extreme as the amount of information known about the object increases. In addition, the real product is hardly discussed in the classic experiment on the set-size effect (Anderson 1967), subjects judged the likability of a target person described by sets of 1,2,3,4,or 6 adjectives. Furthermore, while the number of presented adjectives increased, the evaluation extremity increased either.

It is well-know that consumers encounter numerous advertising messages from many sources and through various media in every day, so advertisers are increasingly concerned about the effectiveness of their messages. The results from many studies in marketing and advertising found the ways to enhance advertising effectiveness. Gordon, McKeage, and Fox (1998) proposed that advertisers strive to produce advertisements that will involve the audience, thus causing the audience to pay more attention to the ads, focus more attention on product-related message contained in the ad, so researchers (e.g., Smith 1996) argue that advertisers should pay attention to how the ads messages are shown and presented to consumers. For example, the way message is constructed significantly to influence the consumers' judgments and decisions about the products (Zhang & Buda 1999; Sanbonmatsu et al. 1997,1998; Smith 1996; Ganzach and Karsahi 1995; Woodside and Singer 1994; Puto 1987). The evidence (Levin & Gaeth 1988; Gaeth et al.1990) reveals that the effects of message framing may vary under different conditions. Smith (1996) is also suggested that the impact of message framing may depend on the type of product. Positive ad have a more favorable impact than the negative ad on purchase-decision judgments for transformational products.

Indeed, consumer studies have extended the scope of the investigation and explored the effect of deterministic product attribute framing on overall product judgment (e.g., Sanbonmatsu et al. 1997,1998; Levin and Gaeth 1988). Also, the effect of framing advertising messages is considered by advertisers (e.g., Smith 1996; Zhang & Buda 1999).

In many decision situations, people form evaluation about product based on available message partially. For example, there are many situations to be considered when a consumer needs to purchase a new sport shoes. The most important attribute on which to evaluate sport shoes is subjective by different consumers. Unfortunately, not all attributes and styles of sport shoes are compared. Therefore, the consumer is faced with the problem of how to respond when the value of a salient product attribute is unknown or a particularly important attribute is missing.

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The Effects of Advertising Messages about a Non-Target Product on the Evaluation of a Target Product: An Experimental Study


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