Side Effects From Fear: the Automatic Inhibition of Threat-Relevant Brand Advertising

Jesper Nielsen, University of Arizona, USA
Stewart Shapiro, University of Delaware, USA
Fear appeal communications are widely used as a tool to help influence intentions, attitudes and behavior in the context of maladaptive consumption behavior. Through two experiments we demonstrate that fear appeals may furthermore result in automatic suppression of stimuli related to the threat. We demonstrate that exposing consumers to a fear-based “don’t drink and drive” public service announcement decreases performance on a reaction time task featuring drinking-related stimulus words (study 1) and reduces the likelihood that consumers process drinking-related brand advertising in a consumer magazine (study 2).
[ to cite ]:
Jesper Nielsen and Stewart Shapiro (2007) ,"Side Effects From Fear: the Automatic Inhibition of Threat-Relevant Brand Advertising", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 192-193.