Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

By William D. Wells | Go to book overview

10
Extensions of the Cognitive Response Approach to Predicting Postadvertisement Attitudes

Debra L. Stephens Villanova University

J. Edward Russo Cornell University

Postexposure attitudes are widely used measures of advertisement effectiveness, and attempts to explain them have played an important role in research on advertising.1 The most common framework for explaining these attitudes focuses on an individual's internal responses during exposure to an ad (e.g., MacInnis & Jaworski, 1989). We adopt this framework in its broadest sense -- for instance, including emotional as well as cognitive responses.

This chapter reports an initial attempt to supplement current cognitive response methods. Our goal is purely methodological. We want to improve the information base (of internal responses) that supports the subsequent explanation of postexposure attitudes. Our focus is the relative efficacy of different techniques for revealing information about internal responses, where efficacy will be assessed by the ability to predict postexposure attitudes.

Out effort to extend and refine the cognitive response approach is two- pronged. First, we consider how to extract more information from the standard retrospective verbal report or thought listing. Second, we test two techniques

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1
We would have preferred to assess ad effectiveness with a behavioral measure like brand choice, but this proved impractical (although see, e.g., Wansink & Ray, chap. 20, this volume). Also, we acknowledge long-standing disagreements over the definition and nature of attitudes, such as whether they are always learned (or whether some might have a genetic component), and for how long they endure. (For an authoritative discussion, see Eagly & Chaiken, 1993; see also Krosnick, Boninger, Chuang, Berent, & Camot, 1993). In addition, like all measurement, the explicit assessment of an attitude risks reactivity, for instance by encouraging subjects to formulate or elaborate their reasons for an attitude (e.g., see Wilson & Hodges, 1992). We adopt the position that, despite these legitimate concerns, for our purposes attitudes are efficient and sufficiently valid measures of the overall evaluative response to an advertisement.

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