Perceived Variability, Category Size, and the Relative Effectiveness Of“Leading Brand” Versus “Best in Class” Comparative Advertising Claims

Xiaojing Yang, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA
Shailendra Jain, Indiana University Bloomington, USA
Charles Lindsey, State University of New York, Buffalo, USA
Frank Kardes, University of Cincinnati, USA
Based on a content analysis, the authors examine the two most frequently observed types of indirect comparisons (“Better than the Leading brand” and “Best in class”). A framework is provided which posits that the attitudinal effects of exposure to specific types of indirect comparisons are moderated by consumers’ perceptions of category variability and category size. It is further argued that these judgmental effects are mediated by consumers’ a priori search mode (confirmatory or disconfirmatory), the type of processing evoked by the indirect comparison (instance-based or abstraction-based), and whether there is a match or mismatch between search mode and type of processing. Two experiments provide support for the proposed theory.
[ to cite ]:
Xiaojing Yang, Shailendra Jain, Charles Lindsey, and Frank Kardes (2007) ,"Perceived Variability, Category Size, and the Relative Effectiveness Of“Leading Brand” Versus “Best in Class” Comparative Advertising Claims", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 209.