Special Session Summary When and Why Is Comparative Advertising More Effective? Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Insights

Paschalina (Lilia) Ziamou, The City University of New York
[ to cite ]:
Paschalina (Lilia) Ziamou (2000) ,"Special Session Summary When and Why Is Comparative Advertising More Effective? Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Insights", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, eds. Stephen J. Hoch and Robert J. Meyer, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 10.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, 2000      Page 10

SPECIAL SESSION SUMMARY

WHEN AND WHY IS COMPARATIVE ADVERTISING MORE EFFECTIVE? THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES AND EMPIRICAL INSIGHTS

Paschalina (Lilia) Ziamou, The City University of New York

SESSION OVERVIEW

The merits of comparative advertising versus non-comparative advertising have been extensively researched and debated in the advertising literature (see, e.g., Pechmann and Ratneshwar 1991). However, conflicting empirical evidence about the effectiveness of comparative advertising and the prevalence of comparative ads highlight the need for additional research on this topic (Grewal et al. 1997). Specifically, further research is needed to identify variables that determine when comparative advertising is likely to be relatively more effective. An important difference between comparative and non-comparative advertising is the ability of the former to encourage a particular point of reference during encoding of the information about the advertised brand (Rose et al. 1993). The three papers in this session provided new insights on how different comparative frames highlight different reference points, thus leading to differences in advertising effectiveness.

PRESENTATION SUMMARIES

 

"THE ROLE OF ATTRIBUTE ALIGNABILITY IN COMPARATIVE ADVERTISING EFFECTIVENESS"

Shi Zhang, Frank Kardes, and Maria Cronley

This paper examines a new moderator of comparative advertising effectiveness: the degree of attribute alignability or comparability. The results of three experiments showed that some attributes are more readily comparable than others, and that the effectiveness of comparative advertising increases as the ease with which attributes can be compared increases.

 

"THE INFLUENCE OF COMPARATIVE AND NONCOMPARATIVE ADVERTSING ON COMPETITIVE AND NONCOMPETITIVE POSITIONING"

Paul Miniard, Michael Barone, Randall Rose, and Kenneth Manning

This paper extends prior theorizing by conceptualizing how different types of advertising may vary in their ability to achieve particular positioning outcomes. The authors showed important trade-offs in the ability of various forms of advertising to achieve different types of product positioning, and how an ad’s positioning effectiveness depends on consumers’ spontaneous activation of competitors during ad encoding.

 

"THE USE OF COMPARATIVE ADVERTISING FOR NEW PRODUCTS: ASSIMILATION AND CONTRAST EFFECTS"

Paschalina (Lilia) Ziamou and S. Ratneshwar

This paper examines the issue of comparative advertising at the product category rather than the brand level. The authors investigate the joined effects of the technology medium (new vs. existing) in which a new functionality is introduced and the advertising strategy (comparative vs. noncomparative) used for communicating the new functionality. The results suggested an interesting interaction. When introducing a new functionality through an existing technology medium, comparative (vs. noncomparative) advertisements result in more negative judgments of the new functionality. However, when introducing a new functionality through a new technology medium, comparative (vs. non-comparative) advertisements result in more positive judgments of the new functionality.

DISCUSSION

Barbara Bickart

The discussion leader presented a framework to summarize the presentations and guide future research on comparative advertising. The framework pointed to three general categories of variables that are likely to influence the effectiveness of comparative advertising: (1) the type of comparison (direct vs. indirect), (2) the presence vs. absence of categorization cues, and (3) the ease with which consumers can make comparisons.

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