Effects of Brand Name Exposure on Brand Choices: an Implicit Memory Perspective

Seh-Woong Chung, University of Toronto
Katrin Szymanski, University of Toronto
ABSTRACT - Drawing on the implicit memory framework, this study examines how exposures to brand names affect subsequent brand choices under different involvement conditions. Experimental results show that exposure modality (i.e., visual vs. auditory) affects brand choices more under low involvement than under high involvement. Subjects are more likely to choose the brand when the prior exposure to the brand is visual than when it is auditory. However, the study finds that processing mode (conceptual vs. perceptual) has no effect on brand choice. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed along with suggestions for future research.
[ to cite ]:
Seh-Woong Chung and Katrin Szymanski (1997) ,"Effects of Brand Name Exposure on Brand Choices: an Implicit Memory Perspective", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 24, eds. Merrie Brucks and Deborah J. MacInnis, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 288-294.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 24, 1997      Pages 288-294

EFFECTS OF BRAND NAME EXPOSURE ON BRAND CHOICES: AN IMPLICIT MEMORY PERSPECTIVE

Seh-Woong Chung, University of Toronto

Katrin Szymanski, University of Toronto

ABSTRACT -

Drawing on the implicit memory framework, this study examines how exposures to brand names affect subsequent brand choices under different involvement conditions. Experimental results show that exposure modality (i.e., visual vs. auditory) affects brand choices more under low involvement than under high involvement. Subjects are more likely to choose the brand when the prior exposure to the brand is visual than when it is auditory. However, the study finds that processing mode (conceptual vs. perceptual) has no effect on brand choice. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed along with suggestions for future research.

INTRODUCTION

Choices in consumer research have typically been categorized into stimulus-based choices and memory-based choices (e.g., Lynch and Srull, 1982; Lynch, Marmorstein, and Weigold, 1988; Alba, Marmorstein, and Chattopadhyay, 1992). In stimulus-based choices, all the alternatives, along with their attributes, are physically present at the time of decision making, and the brand choices are assumedto be based on a rational scrutiny of this information. The multiattribute matrix approach exemplifies this type of choice.

It has been suggested, however, that in most real-life settings, consumers rarely have such information available about the alternatives. Consequently, consumer researchers have become interested in memory-based choices, where the alternatives and relevant information about them must be recalled from memory (e.g., Alba, Marmorstein, and Chattopadhyay, 1992; Lynch and Srull, 1982). In memory-based choices, the consumer consciously retrieves information from memory, and the decision is made on the basis of the information that is accessible and diagnostic (Lynch, Marmorstein, and Weigold, 1988). The information which forms the basis of the choice may consist of product attributes, or the product evaluation formerly formed and stored in memory.

Consumer decisions, however, may be made under mixed choice conditions, where some alternatives are physically available while others must be retrieved from memory. Most real-life purchases are made in these circumstances, as when one looks at several brands at one store, and later makes a purchase at another store (Lynch, Marmorstein, and Weigold, 1988).

Further, consumer decision making often takes place in situations where the consumer expends little cognitive effort in making the decision. Consider the consumer who hurries into a store to buy a grocery item, say, spaghetti noodle. Further suppose that the purchase has to be very quick since, for example, the consumer has his/her car illegally parked on the street outside the store. He/she has limited knowledge in spaghetti noodle, and does not have a preferred brand. Without much knowledge, nor much time to think about it, the consumer runs to the spaghetti section, barely scans the shelf, and quickly grabs a brand that somehow catches his eyes.

The conventional approach outlined above leaves unaddressed this kind of choice. His/her decision is typically labeled as a 'low-involvement’ choice. With these types of choices, consumers rely more on peripheral cues than on attribute information (e.g., Petty, Caccioppo, and Schumann, 1983), expend minimal time and effort in making purchase decisions (e.g., Dickson and Sawyer, 1990), and the intensity of information search is reduced (Park and Hastak, 1994). The consumer is not likely to actively engage in the conscious retrieval of information from memory when making choices, but may instead make choices based on brand familiarity or perceptual fluency (Lee, 1995).

The current study aims to investigate how an incidental exposure to brand names can affect subsequent brand choices even when the consumer is not aware of the effect of the prior exposure. For this purpose, we utilize a framework recently developed in cognitive psychology, often referred to as 'implicit memory’ perspective, and demonstrate how this framework can offer an insight for examining brand choices made under different levels of involvement.

CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND

Companies allocate an increasing amount of money each year to expose consumers to their brand names, and make substantial expenditures placing their products and brand names in movies, television shows, sports arenas, and outdoor billboards (Pracejus, 1995). A few studies have examined the effectiveness of brand name exposures on brand name recall (e.g., Nebenzahl and Hornik, 1985) or recognition (e.g., Pham, 1992). However, the ultimate effectiveness of this strategy should be gauged by whether the exposure increases the likelihood that these brands are chosen in subsequent purchase occasions.

Conventionally, memory tests, such as recall or recognition tests, consist of explicitly asking subjects to retrieve information from memory. Recent developments in cognitive psychology, however, suggest that prior experience can have implicit, as well as explicit, effects on memory and behavior. It has, in fact, been recognized in cognitive psychology that people can be "unconscious of why they behave the way they do" (Bowers, 1984; p. 245), and that some information can affect behavior even when individuals are unaware of being exposed to it (e.g., Jacoby and Kelley, 1987). The unconscious, or implicit, influence of past exposure to stimuli is perhaps best revealed in a class of memory tests called implicit memory tests. Unlike the conventional, explicit memory tests that direct the subjects to consciously recollect past experience, implicit memory tests do not require reference to a prior study episode (Roediger, 1990; Roediger and McDermott, 1993; Schacter, 1987). Subjects participating in implicit memory tests are simply told to perform tasks that presumably do not require conscious, or intentional, recollection of the past episode. The implicit role of memory is revealed in these tests by a change in the performance that is demonstrably attributable to the encoding of information in a prior study episode (Schacter, 1987). This exposure-induced change in the performance unaccompanied by awareness is called 'priming’ (Tulving and Schacter, 1990).

Numerous tests have been used to measure implicit memory, which can be broadly classified into two categories: perceptual implicit tests and conceptual implicit tests (Blaxton, 1989; Jacoby, 1983; Tulving and Schacter 1990). The distinction between these two types of tests is important mainly because of the functional dissociations observed between these tests; that is, a number of variables (e.g., modality of presentation, levels of processing, typography) have been found to affect one type of implicit memory tests, while having no effect or the opposite effect on the other type of tests (for a review of the distinction between perceptual and conceptual priming, see Roediger and McDermott, 1993).

Perceptual implicit tests, also referred to as data-driven tests (Blaxton, 1989), are tests which require a reliance on the physical features of the test items. In perceptual implicit tests, stimuli presented for study (e.g., the word 'ELEPHANT’) later occur in a perceptually degraded form at test. Examples of perceptual implicit tests include word stem completion (e.g., EL ), word fragment completion (e.g., -L--H---), and perceptual identification (identifying the word 'ELEPHANT’ presented very briefly). These tests have been shown to be sensitive to changes in the physical features of the stimuli between study and test, such as picture/word manipulation (e.g., Srinivas and Roediger, 1990), modality of presentation (Blaxton, 1989: Experiment 2), and typography manipulation (Blaxton, 1989: Experiment 3).

In contrast, conceptual implicit tests, also known as conceptually driven tests, reflect conceptual processes (Schacter, 1987). In conceptual implicit tests, the stimuli presented at study are only conceptually related to the cues provided at test, and bear no resemblance to the stimuli (Blaxton, 1989; Lee, 1995; Roediger, 1990). For example, the subject may be presented with the word 'ELEPHANT’ for study and later be given a general knowledge question (e.g., what is the largest mammal?), a word fragment completion (e.g., --M--L) [One may note that the word fragment completion test can be used as both a perceptual implicit test and a conceptual implicit test. When it is used as a conceptual implicit test, it bears no physical resemblance to the study item. yet the subject is more likely to complete the fragment '--M--L' with 'MAMMAL' due to the exposure to the word 'ELEPHANT' during the study session.], or a category exemplar generation (e.g., generate exemplars for the category 'MAMMALS’). These tests require conceptual elaboration of the stimuli at study, and are affected by variables that are also known to influence explicit memory tests, such as levels of processing (Blaxton, 1989) and attentional manipulations (Gardiner and Parkin, 1990; Parkin and Russo, 1990).

Recently, a number of researchers in cognitive psychology have proposed and found evidence for the Transfer-Appropriate Processing model (Blaxton, 1989; Morris, Bransford, and Franks, 1977; Roediger and Blaxton, 1987; Roediger, Weldon, and Challis, 1989; Weldon, 1991) to explain individuals’ performance on these different types of tests. Analogous to the encoding-specificity principle, which states that explicit memory performance is determined by the extent of match between the study conditions and retrieval conditions (Tulving, 1985), the Transer-Appropriate Processing model posits that the performance on implicit memory tests is enhanced to the extent that the types of mental operations performed at study overlap with those required at test.

For example, reading words at study leads to better performance on perceptual implicit tests than generating them from a conceptual cue at study (e.g., Jacoby, 1983), since reading (vs. generating) involves perceptual processing of the stimuli, the same type of processing required in perceptual implicit tests. In a related study, Weldon and Roediger (1987, Experiment 4) had subjects study a list of stimuli in either pictures (e.g., the picture of elephant) or in words (e.g., the word 'ELEPHANT’) and later presented them with one of two implicit memory test: the word-fragment completion test and the picture-fragment naming test (i.e., naming the referent of the picture presented in a perceptually degraded form). They found that seeing the words at study produced better performance on word-fragment completion test than did seeing the pictures, whereas the opposite pattern occurred for the picture-fragment naming test. Both of these examples illustrate the basic notion of the Transfer-Appropriate Processing model that the match in mental operations performed at study (e.g., seeing pictures) and at test (e.g., naming pictures) influences the performance on implicit memory tests. The Transfer-Appropriate-Processing model has been shown to well explain individuals’ performance on different types of implicit memory tests, and to account for the dissociations in the effects of various experimental manipulations on the performance on implicit memory tests (e.g., Roediger, 1989; Roediger and McDermott, 1993; Schacter, 1987; Weldon, 1991).

The current study views brand choice as an implicit memory test in the sense that brand choice may be implicitly affected by earlier exposure to brand names even when the consumer is not aware of the fact that his/her choice is being influenced by the previous exposure. This is in line with Roediger and McDermott’s (1993) definition of implicit memory tests that "...[E]very sort of judgment or test that is (a) affected by past experience, and (b) given under conditions in which subjects are not explicitly instructed to remember earlier events, would qualify (p.69)" as an implicit memory test.

HYPOTHESES

Viewing brand choice from the implicit memory perspective allows us to develop and test a number of interesting hypotheses. In the current study, we focus on the choice situation in which the consumer is visually presented with the brand names, and is required to make a choice under either high or low involvement. Under low involvement, the consumer expends minimal time and effort in making a choice (Lee, 1995; Park and Hastak, 1994). In these situations, the consumer is least likely to resort to a systematic processing of brand information. Rather, the consumer may make a choice using a simple heuristic, such as perceptual fluency, or increased ease of perceptually processing the stimulus due to prior exposure (Jacoby, 1983), and choose the brand that 'catches the eye’, or that somehow 'feels familiar’ (see Jacoby, 1983). In other words, the consumer, under low involvement situation, may base the choice on the perceptual features of the brand names, and choose the brand that visually 'pops out’ among the alternatives (e.g., Garber, 1995). Thus, brand choices under these circumstances closely resemble perceptual implicit tests in the sense that these choices are based on the physical features of the brand names.

The Transfer-Appropriate Processing model outlined above implies, then, that conceptual processing of the brand names during prior exposure is neither necessary nor efficient when the choice is made under low involvement. Rather, the model suggests that the choice made under low involvement would be sensitive to the modality of exposure (visual vs. auditory), the variable which as been found to affect perceptual implicit memory tests. As aforementioned, when choices are made among a number of visually available alternatives, and are made under low involvement conditions, they are likely to be based on the visual aspects of the products (Garber, 1995), and therefore, require visual processing of the alternatives. Thus, companies would benefit only from visually (vs. auditorily) exposing consumers to their brand names if the purchase of their products typically involves a choice among visually available alternatives and is likely to be made in low involvement situations, such as in most grocery shopping occasions. This strategy of visual exposure insures the maximal match between mental operations during the exposure and subsequent choices, which, according to the Transfer-Appropriate-Processing model, enhances the performance on implicit memory tests.

H1: When brand choice is made under low involvement conditions, visual exposure to a brand name will increase the likelihood that the brand is subsequently chosen. Auditory exposure to a brand name will not affect the likelihood that the brand is subsequently chosen.

In contrast, when brand choice is made in high involvement situations, the consumer is more likely to engage in an active processing of the available information, is more inclined to expend time and effort to make an accurate decision, and is less prone to be affected by perceptual fluency (Lee, 1995; Park and Hastak, 1994). In other words, brand choice in high involvement situations is likely to be more conceptually based (versus perceptually based). For instance, when highly involved in the purchase decision, the consumer may rely on his/her knowledge about the brand names and the product categories, which in nature is a conceptually-based decision making. Thus, under these circumstances, prior conceptual processing would match the processing requirement of choice, and therefore, exposure to a brand name is expected to affect brand choice only when the consumer conceptually processed the brand name during the exposure. [The conceptual/perceptual distinction employed in this study should be distinguished from the central/peripheral processing framework proposed in Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty and Cacioppo, 1984). Though these two frameworks bear resemblance in the sense that they are both concerned with processing under low/high involvement situations, the latter framework pertains to message relevant/irrelevant processing that lead to differential routes to persuasion. The present study, however, focuses on situations in which the consumer is only exposed to brand names in the absence of any brand information, or advertising message (e.g., brand-name-only billboards). Thus, in the context of the current study, the distinction between conceptual/perceptual processing seems more appropriate than that between central/peripheral processing.]

H2: When brand choice is made under high involvement conditions, conceptual processing of a brand name during exposure will increase the likelihood that the brand is subsequently chosen. In contrast, perceptual encoding will not affect the likelihood that the brand is subsequently chosen.

EXPERIMENT

To test the above hypotheses, we manipulated both the condition at exposure and at choice. High and low involvement conditions at choice were manipulated by varying the amount of the time allowed for choice. Conditions at exposure were manipulated by varying the modality of the presented stimuli (visual versus auditory) and the type of processing induced (conceptual versus perceptual). Conceptual processing was induced by having the subjects judge when during the day each brand was most likely to be used. This instruction forces subjects to elaborate on their knowledge about the brand names and product categories. Perceptual processing was induced by having the subjects count the number of vowels or syllables in the brand names. This task directs subjects to focus on the perceptual features of the brand names while preventing them from elaborating on the concept.

Method

Subjects. One hundred and twenty eight undergraduate business students from a large North American University participatd in the experiment in exchange for course credit. In addition, a separate group of 58 students in a management course volunteered to take parts in the pretest.

Stimuli. Five brands (e.g., Dentyne) from each of fifteen product categories (e.g., chewing gum) were used as targets. The brands selected were based on a pretest, where participants were asked to list all the brands they would consider buying in each of the categories. For each product category, brands named with approximately comparable frequencies were chosen for the experiment, while the brands listed with frequencies distinctly lower or higher than other brands were dropped.

Brands from another set of five product categories were used for practice trials, and also to eliminate primacy effects. Brands from an additional ten product categories were used to eliminate recency effects. These additional brands also served as fillers, thereby increasing the number of brand names and product categories, which makes it more difficult for the subjects to remember which brands were presented during the exposure stage.

In both the exposure session and the subsequent choice session, the order of presentation of the target product categories was randomized across the subjects. Further, to remove an item effect, the brand being presented in the exposure session was randomly selected among the five brands in each product category. Thus, each subject was presented with a randomly selected brand in a given category, which later served as his/her own target brand in that category. In addition, the position of the target brand within each product category was randomized across subjects in the brand choice stage.

Design. The experiment comprised a 2 (Exposure Modality: Visual vs. Auditory) - 2 (Processing Mode: Perceptual vs. Conceptual) - 2 (Involvement: High vs. Low) between-subject factorial design.

Procedure. The different stages of the experimental procedure are shown in Figure 1. As a rule, the subjects participated in groups of two to four individuals, and were randomly assigned to one of the 2 - 2 - 2 cells. On arrival, the subjects were seated in front of IBM PS/2 Ultimedia personal computers, which were used to present the stimuli. They were then told that they would be subjects in three short unrelated studies. Each of the three sessions had separate cover stories which were designed to conceal the relationship between exposure to particular brands and subsequent choices.

As indicated in Figure 1, the experiment comprised of an exposure session, an unrelated filler task, and a choice task. For the exposure session, subjects were told that the researchers were interested in how consumers would process various brand names. For the subjects in the 'visual exposure’ condition, a brand name from each product category was presented on the computer screen one at a time. For those in the 'auditory exposure’ group, the brand names were auditorily presented one at a time by a cassette-tape player. Half the subjects in the 'visual exposure’ group were instructed to count the number of vowels in each brand name while the other half in the same group were told to judge when during the day each brand was most likely to be used (e.g., Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Night). Similarly, half the subjects in the 'auditory exposure’ group were directed to count the number of syllables in each brand name while the other half were instructed to judge when during the day each brand was most likely to be used.

Following the exposure session, subjects engaged in an unrelated task that lasted for approximately five minutes. The purpose of this task was to erase short-term memory and to blur the connection between the exposure session and the choice session. For this task, the subjects read the cover story which stated that certain companies were interested in understanding consumer profiles, and were asked a number of questions about some demographic information (e.g., age, gender) and personal life-style (e.g., hobbies).

FIGURE 1

EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE

Finally, the subjects were given the choice task. Inthis task, the subjects were first presented with the five filler product categories, then with the fifteen target product categories, and finally with the ten filler product categories. The filler and target product categories remained the same as the ones used in the exposure session. The product categories appeared on the computer screen one at a time. A set of five brands from each of the thirty product categories was shown at one time, and the subjects’ task was to choose which brand they would purchase from this set of five brands. Of the five brands in each product category, one was presented in the prior exposure session.

For the subjects in high involvement group, the choice set for each category stayed on the computer screen for 10 seconds, and the subjects were told to take as much time as they would like to make each choice. In contrast, for those in the low involvement group, each choice set remained on the computer screen for 3 seconds only, and the subjects were instructed to make each choice as quickly as possible. [Although, in theory, involvement is viewed as an individual difference variable (Laurent and Kapferer, 1988), it is often conceptualized as a multi-faceted construct, which is determined by many situational factors (Batra an Ray, 1983). Thus, involvement is not merely motivational, but is also affected by situational opportunity and ability (Celci and Olson, 1988). We manipulated (vis-a-vis measured) one such factor (i.e., opportunity) by varying the time pressure across the two involvement conditions. This is in line with the suggestion that factors theoretically predicted to influence involvement (e.g., motivation, ability, or opportunity) should be manipulated (Andrews, 1988).]

TABLE 1

MEAN NUMBER OF MATCHES BETWEEN THE PRIMED AND CHOSEN BRAND

To measure demand characteristics, the subjects were asked at the end of the experiment to write down what they thought the purposes of the experiment were. Upon completing this, they were debriefed and dismissed.

Dependent Measure. The dependent measure was the number of times one of the primed brands was chosen. If there is no effect of exposure on the subsequent brand choice, the primed brands would be chosen three out of fifteen times, or one fifth of the time, since there were five brands per product category.

RESULTS

The subjects’ responses to the demand characteristics question asked at the end of the experiment indicated that the attempt at concealing the relationship between exposure to particular brands and subsequent choices was successful. Only one subject indicated an awareness of this relationship. Data for this subject were dropped in the statistical analyses.

Table 1 shows the mean number of times subjects chose the brand names to which they were previously exposed during the study phase. Overall, a three-way ANOVA on the dependent variable with exposure modality, processing mode, and involvement revealed a significant main effect for exposure modality (F=15.26, p=.000), such that subjects in the visual exposure condition had a significantly higher likelihood of subsequently selecting the preexposed brands than those in the auditory exposure condition (Mvisual=3.83 versus Mauditory=2.83). The main effects for processing mode and for involvement were not significant. The modality by involvement interaction approached marginal significance, however, all the other two- and three-way interactions were not significant.

To determine whether choice of the pre-exposed brands was above chance levels (i.e., 3.0) in the different cells, a series of one-sample t-tests were performed. These tests revealed that choice of the pre-exposed brands was significantly above chance for the two cells in the 'Visual exposure/ Low involvement’ condition (Mvisual, perceptual, low involvement=4.13, t=2.52, p=0.02; Mvisual, conceptual, low involvement=4.31, t=2.78, p=0.01). None of the other cells was significantly above chance (p>0.05).

H1 predicted that modality of exposure would affect brand choice under low involvement, but not under high involvement. Planned comparisons revealed that the probability of choosing the previously exposed brands was higher for the visual exposure group than for the auditory exposure group, when the involvement at choice was low (Mvisual, low involvement=4.22 versus Mauditory, low involvement=2.81; F=14.21; p=.00). In contrast, visual exposure group and auditory exposure group differed only marginally when the involvement at choice was high (Mvisual, high involvement=3.44 versus Mauditory, high involvement=2.84; F=3.06, p=.09). Thus, support for H1 was found in the sense that the modality of exposure had a greater impact on brand choice when the involvement at choice was low than when it was high.

Inconsistent with H2, which predicted that the conceptual processing of brand names during exposure would increase the likelihood of the pre-exposed brands being chosen under high involvement at choice, no effect of processing mode (i.e., conceptual versus perceptual processing) was found in either involvement condition. That is, under both high and low involvement conditions, subjects who conceptually processed the brand names during the exposure did not subsequently choose the pre-exposed brands more frequently than those who perceptually processed them.

DISCUSSION

The results indicate that the modality of exposure (visual versus auditory) affected which brands subjects chose in the subsequent choice occasion, especially under low involvement condition. It appears that consumers rely on perceptual features of the alternatives and select the brand that 'pops out’, or that seems 'perceptually familiar’, especially if they do not have the adequate opportunity, or are not highly motivated, to make a 'reasoned’ choice (e.g., due to time pressure). It is interesting to note that conceptual processing during exposure was not necessary to induce the subjects to choose the pre-exposed brands under these circumstances.

Conforming to the Transfer-Appropriate Processing framework, these findings suggest that brands, especially, frequently purchased packaged goods, with which consumers are not highly involved, would benefit from a visually simple ad which emphasizes the brand name. For these products, it would not be beneficial to clutter the ad with complex design and intricate information. The package for these products would also have to highlight the brand name and be simple in design such that the visual features are maximally matched between the ad and the package.

The results also have implications for advertising media selection. If the product is likely to be purchased in a low-involvement situation, visual media such as print or television ads would be more efficient than audio ads. In addition, use of logos, brand-name-only posters, and outdoor billboards is also justified by the results of this study.

The results pertaining to H2 were surprising. Contrary to H2, conceptual processing (versus perceptual processing) of the brand names during exposure did not induce the subjects to choose the brands to which they were exposed even when the subjects were highly involved during choice task. Although we could not address the exact mechanism leading to these results, one possibility may be due to the fact the choice situation in the current study was such that the choices were made in the physical presence of the alternatives. As suggested by Lee (1995), conceptual processing may be more effective than perceptual processing in memory-based choices in which the choice decisions are made in the absence of the alternatives, and therefore, the consumer has to generate the set of alternatives from memory. In memory-based choices, the absence of visual cues would preclude the use of perceptual heuristics. Prior conceptual processing under these circumstances would, for instance, increase the likelihood that the pre-exposed brands are included in the consideration set, and are ultimately chosen. In contrast, it appears that when the alternatives were physically presented to the consumer, modality of exposure was more important than processing mode such that subjects still relied on perceptual cues even when their involvement was high and they had an ample opportunity to expend deliberation in making the choice. Another, related possibility may be found in the fact that we restricted our study to frequently purchased packaged goods with which consumers are not likely to be highly motivated to devote excessive deliberation when making choices.

FUTURE RESEARCH

The current study focused on how various modes of exposures to brand names affected subsequent brand choices in the context in which all the alternatives were physically present whey the subjects were making choices. Future studies may investigate the implicit effect of preexposure on choices in other contexts. For example, it is well-known that the effect of memory differs depending on whether the choice is stimulus-based or memory-based. (Lynch and Srull, 1982; Lynch, Marmorstein, and Weigold, 1988; Alba, Marmorstein, and Chattopadhyay, 1992). Further, the role of involvement, exposure modality, and elaboration mode may also depend on whether the choice is stimulus-based or memory-based.

Examining the effect of multiple (versus single) preexposures on brand choice would also be interesting. Studying this issue would help to determine what the exact nature of the relationship between exposure frequencies and brand choice (e.g., inverted U-shape) is, and whether there is a threshold in the effect of multiple exposures. Similarly, one could introduce various lengths of delays between exposures, and between exposures and brand choice to determine whether the effect observed in the present study is short-lived or relatively long lasting.

Investigating the characteristics of brand names would also provide valuable insight. For example, one might study the effect of exposure on unfamiliar (versus familiar) brands, or examine whether there is a differential effect on meaningful brand names (e.g., Cascade, Mother’s) compared to meaningless brand names (e.g., Javex, Unico).

The present study focused on frequently purchased packaged goods, with which consumers are generally not highly involved when making choices. A similar study with high-involvement products (e.g., automobile, personal computer) would reveal whether the preexposure effect observed in the current study can be generalized to these products, and/or whether different factors are responsible for producing the effects when choices are made for high-involvement products.

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