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Effects of Absurdity in Advertising: The Moderating Role of Product Category Attitude and the Mediating Role of Cognitive Responses

Leopoldo Arias-Bolzmann, Goutam Chakraborty and John C. Mowen
Journal of Advertising
Vol. 29, No. 1 (Spring, 2000), pp. 35-49
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4189133
Page Count: 15
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Effects of Absurdity in Advertising: The Moderating Role of Product Category Attitude and the Mediating Role of Cognitive Responses
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Abstract

For this paper, the presence or absence of an absurd image was manipulated in a simulated print advertisement for a fictitious brand of wine cooler. Consumers' prior attitude toward wine coolers was hypothesized to moderate the effectiveness of absurdity in advertising. Consumers' cognitive responses were hypothesized to mediate the impact of absurdity and prior product category attitude on consumers' persuasion as measured by consumers' attitude to the ad and brand. The results supported the moderating role of prior product category attitude and a distraction hypothesis explanation of this effect. For subjects with negative prior attitude toward wine coolers, those viewing the absurd ad had a more positive attitude to the ad and brand than those viewing the non-absurd ad. However, for subjects with positive prior attitude toward wine coolers, those viewing the absurd ad did not differ in their ad or brand attitude than those viewing the non-absurd ad. The results also supported the mediating role of cognitive responses of these effects. Finally, absurdity was found to impact brand name recall in a manner that paralleled the results for the persuasion measures.

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