Ad Affect, Brand Attitude, and Choice: the Moderating Roles of Delay and Involvement

Amitava Chattopadhyay, McGill University
Prakash Nedungadi, University of Toronto
[ to cite ]:
Amitava Chattopadhyay and Prakash Nedungadi (1990) ,"Ad Affect, Brand Attitude, and Choice: the Moderating Roles of Delay and Involvement", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 17, eds. Marvin E. Goldberg, Gerald Gorn, and Richard W. Pollay, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 619-620.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 17, 1990      Pages 619-620


Amitava Chattopadhyay, McGill University

Prakash Nedungadi, University of Toronto

[This research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada's Grant #410-88-1203 to the first author.]


Marketers have long assumed that an individual's reactions toward an advertisement has an impact on their evaluation of an advertised brand and subsequent purchase decision. Based on this assumption, marketers have routinely measured audience reaction to ads (e.g., Schlinger 1979). Recently, Mitchell and Olson (1981) and Shimp (1981) have attempted to present a framework that tries to make explicit the relationship between an individual's responses to an ad and brand attitude judgements. They suggest that the effects of an individual!s reactions to an advertisement on brand attitude are mediated by the construct attitude toward the ad. Mitchell and Olson (1981) also present empirical evidence in support of this proposition.

Following the pioneering work of Mitchell and Olson (1981) and Shimp (1981), a number of marketing researchers have theorized about and investigated the relationship between attitude toward the advertisement and consumer decisions under a variety of situations (e.g., Lutz, MacKenzie and Belch 1983; MacKenzie, Lutz and Belch 1986; Mitchell 1986; Moore and Hutchinson 1985; Park and Young 1986). A review of this research reveals that notwithstanding a growing body of research on the effects of attitude toward the ad on brand attitude, there are several limitations in our understanding of the relationship between attitude toward the ad and consumer decision making.

First, with the exception of the work of Moore and Hutchinson (1983, 1985), there is no research that has examined either the temporal stability of ad attitude or the relationship between ad attitude and brand attitude over time [Burke and Edell (1986, 1989) and Edell and Burke (1987) had subjects come to their lab for measurement of a variety of post-exposure responses at different time delays from the time of initial exposure to a set of target ads. However, prior to measuring subject's responses, subjects were all shown the target ads once. This last exposure, immediately prior to measurement, precluded the possibility of examining the effects of time delay on ad attitude and its effects on brand attitude.] [Moore and Hutchinson (1983, 1985) classified ads into five categories ranging from positive to negative. They found that for brands associated with the most negatively evaluated ads, brand attitudes became more favorable after a delay of seven days compared to brand attitudes measured immediately following exposure. Since, in the research presented here, we compare the effects of a very favorable ad attitude with the effects of a relatively less favorable ad attitude on brand attitude, the effects observed by Moore and Hutchinson (1983, 1985) for extremely negatively evaluated ads is not directly relevant.]. Research on this topic is important as the effect of ad attitude on brand attitude observed immediately following exposure may change over time.

Second, recent conceptual developments in psychology (e.g., Petty and Cacioppo 1981), their conceptual extension to the marketing context, and empirical tests of these ideas (e.g., Lutz 1985; Park and Young 1986) indicate that the effects of ad attitude on brand attitude judgement are moderated by the degree to which the message recipient is involved (Petty, Cacioppo and Schumann 1983) with processing the message.- In situations characterized as low involvement, ad attitude has a bigger impact on brand attitude compared to situations characterized as high involvement. Given the differential impact of ad attitude on brand attitude as a function of message processing involvement, the relationship between ad attitude and brand attitude is likely to be influenced differentially with the passage of time. Since the effect of ad attitude on brand attitude is larger under low involvement, the relationship is likely to change more in cases where the initial attitude is formed under low involvement compared to when it is formed under high involvement.

Third, previous research has not examined the effects of ad attitude on choice behavior. It is not adequate to assume that the relationship between ad attitude and brand attitude will simply generalize to choice as there is evidence to suggest that the antecedents of attitude and choice may be different (e.g., Chattopadhyay and Alba 1988; Loken and Hoverstadt 1985).

This research seeks to examine (a) whether the effects of ad attitude on brand attitude are stable over time, (b) the effect of involvement at the time of processing the message on the ad attitude-brand attitude relationship over time, and (c) the role of ad attitude in influencing choice behavior.


Using a 2x2x2 between subjects design the effects of ad attitude (neutral and positive) on brand attitude and choice as a function of delay (no delay and one week delay) and involvement (high and low) was examined. Subjects, run in small groups, were first presented with a typed sheet of instructions that informed them of the purpose of the study. To manipulate involvement, half the subjects were told that we were interested in their evaluation of a new program being considered for airing in the local market (low involvement condition) and half the subjects were told that the purpose of the study was to examine their evaluation of advertisements. These latter subjects were also told that they should pay careful attention to the advertisements as they would be asked questions about the ads following exposure and they would receive up to five dollars depending on the accuracy of their responses to the set of questions that would follow (high involvement). Subjects then saw a fifteen minute segment of a TV program not aired in the area. The target ad was embedded in the program segment. Half the subjects saw the neutral version of the ad and half saw the positive version. Ad attitude was manipulated by altering the visual elements of the ad (see, e.g., Mitchell 1986).

Following exposure, all subjects completed a page containing five filler questions. At this juncture, half the subjects (no delay condition) completed the main questionnaire and the other half were dismissed with instructions to return a week later, ostensibly for another experiment (delay condition). Subjects in the delay condition were administered the main questionnaire during the second session a week later. Following completion of the main questionnaire, subjects were paid and debriefed.

In the main questionnaire, subjects' cognitive responses, ad attitude, brand attitude, and choice behavior were assessed. As well, questions designed to assess level of involvement and experimental demand were included.


Our results showed that subjects' attitude toward the ad had a strong effect on brand attitude. Further, neither delay nor involvement had any effect on either subjects' ad attitude or brand attitude. That is, the ad attitude-brand attitude relationship was not contingent on either delay between ad exposure and measurement or the level of involvement at the time of ad exposure. Our results also showed that ad attitude did not influence choice behavior.


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