Counterfactual Priming Effects on Advertising Persuasion

Kai-Yu Wang, Brock University, Canada
Xiaojing Yang, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, USA
Counterfactual thinking (CFT) refers to the process of reflecting on past events and simulating alternative possible outcomes. In this research, we present two experiments demonstrating the impact of CFT in response to previous consumption experience on the effectiveness of comparative advertising appeals that consumers subsequently get exposed to. In experiment 1, we show the effect of CFT on consumers' processing of subsequently encountered ad messages (comparative vs. noncomparative) that is relevant to prior consumption experience. In experiment 2, the effects observed in experiment 1 are replicated when subsequently encountered ad information is unrelated to the previous consumption experience, providing an extension of experiment 1 and establishing the robustness of the documented findings.
[ to cite ]:
Kai-Yu Wang and Xiaojing Yang (2011) ,"Counterfactual Priming Effects on Advertising Persuasion", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 38, eds. Darren W. Dahl, Gita V. Johar, and Stijn M.J. van Osselaer, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research.