Rajeev Batra Michael L. Ray Graduate School of Business Stanford University
It is by now a commonplace that consumers' "low involvement" processing of television ads is different from the initial processing earlier assumed in the advertising literature. Our understanding of these processes, however, is still largely speculative, and certainly incomplete.
Over the last two years, our research has investigated such processing in an attempt to identify situations where advertisers may safely reduce levels of repetition frequency. While this is an applied and managerial objective, it has led us into investigations of the role of different kinds of affect in the processing of advertising messages.
By "affect," we mean here the sorts of feelings towards a stimulus which lead to relative preferences for that stimulus out of a class of similar stimuli. Further, we are concerned only with the kinds of affect involved in preferences, rather than the kinds that constitute emotions such as shame, guilt, etc. (see Zajonc, 1980, p. 152).
Our investigations into the role of affect in such "low involvement" advertising processes have revealed, we believe, some very fundamental insights into how "low involvement" television advertising -- indeed, all television advertising --is processed on contact. These basic processes are discussed in this chapter. While the research question is posed in terms of "low involvement" advertising processes, the model presented helps to show the different ways in which all television advertising works.
We begin with our theoretical development by briefly reviewing the role of different sources of affect in advertising processing, as developed in previous