Do Opposites Attract? Understanding How Oppositional Advertisements Work

Anjala Krishen, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, USA
Pamela Homer, California State University, Long Beach, USA
We define opposition in advertising as the practice of pitting two seemingly opposing views in one advertisement. In this paper, we extend extant research to identify when and why oppositional ads are effective. We propose that opposition is a visual tool that simplifies decision-making and perceptual cognition. In a series of two experiments, we demonstrate that the underlying mechanism for opposition is reduction of visual complexity. Thus, we show that oppositional ads not only allow individuals to make easier decisions, but that they also enable more simplistic perception.
[ to cite ]:
Anjala Krishen and Pamela Homer (2010) ,"Do Opposites Attract? Understanding How Oppositional Advertisements Work", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 835-836 .