The Influence of Moment-To-Moment Pleasantness and Informativeness on Zapping Tv Commercials: a Functional Data and Survival Analysis Approach

Josephine L.C.M. Woltman Elpers, University of Groningen
Michel Wedel, University of Groningen
Rik G.M. Pieters, University of Tilburg
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - Television commercials are dynamic stimuli that develop over time. As the content of television commercials changes over time, the likelihood that consumers zap the commercial may change as well. This study aims to provide more insight into moment-to-moment ad contents influence the consumer’s decision to zap a commercial or not. Such insight is important to understand when and why consumers actually zap, and if and how this decision can be managed by changes in the contents of commercials.
[ to cite ]:
Josephine L.C.M. Woltman Elpers, Michel Wedel, and Rik G.M. Pieters (2002) ,"The Influence of Moment-To-Moment Pleasantness and Informativeness on Zapping Tv Commercials: a Functional Data and Survival Analysis Approach", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 29, eds. Susan M. Broniarczyk and Kent Nakamoto, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 57-58.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 29, 2002     Pages 57-58

THE INFLUENCE OF MOMENT-TO-MOMENT PLEASANTNESS AND INFORMATIVENESS ON ZAPPING TV COMMERCIALS: A FUNCTIONAL DATA AND SURVIVAL ANALYSIS APPROACH

Josephine L.C.M. Woltman Elpers, University of Groningen

Michel Wedel, University of Groningen

Rik G.M. Pieters, University of Tilburg

EXTENDED ABSTRACT -

Television commercials are dynamic stimuli that develop over time. As the content of television commercials changes over time, the likelihood that consumers zap the commercial may change as well. This study aims to provide more insight into moment-to-moment ad contents influence the consumer’s decision to zap a commercial or not. Such insight is important to understand when and why consumers actually zap, and if and how this decision can be managed by changes in the contents of commercials.

Specifically we investigate how moment-to-moment ad pleasantness and informativeness affect the zapping rate over time. It is argued that the zapping probability at second t does not only depend on the level of pleasantness and informativeness at time t, but also on the interaction between pleasantness and informativeness as well on velocities in pleasantness and informativeness at time t. Overall evaluative judgments of ad characteristics do not predict the zapping moment at second t very well, because consumers are likely to weigh some moments of the commercial contents (and their responses to it) more heavily than others. Hence there is need to "discrete " the overall ad judgements at the zapping moment into specific ad contents for each key ad time fragment up to this zapping moment. We use multiple samples of judges who assess 18 commercials on moment-to-moment pleasantness and informativeness. Actual zapping data for each of the 18 commercials are obtained from 71 consumers in an experimental setting.

Next we introduce a non-parametric approach from functional data analysis to obtain representative measures of the pleasantness and informativeness curve for each commercial. To measure velocity over time, local polynomial regression is applied to obtain first-order derivatives. We perform principal component analysis to obtain a weighted average pleasantness and informativeness trace for each ad that maximizes variance across individual moment-to-moment responses. Results show that judges have sufficient agreement in their assessments of moment-to-moment pleasantness and informativeness across television commercials. A random-effect discrete hazard model that allows for a general specification of thebaseline hazard and heterogeneity across ads and subjects is estimated using simulated maximum likelihood. It reveals the effects that both the level and velocity of moment-to-moment pleasantness and informativeness have on zapping probabilities. The findings show that systematically a high level and a high velocity of pleasantness decrease the zapping rate. A commercial with a high level and positive velocity of pleasantness apparently promotes a positive attitude toward the ad and thus the motivation to continue viewing it. Positive velocity in pleasantness decreases the zapping rate which converges with results from consumers’ satisfaction research. Consumers prefer positive improving series of outcomes. We also find that high levels and velocities of information increase the zapping rate. Higher levels of information in television commercials tax the processing capabilities of consumers, in particular since television commercials are externally paced. Hence, at higher levels and velocities of informativeness in television commercials, the information processing capabilities of consumers may be more quickly taxed, in particular since consumers tend to watch television commercials more passively, and for pleasantness rather than informativeness. In fact, high levels of informativeness in radio and television commercials stimulate irritation. This is likely to promote zapping at higher levels of informativeness in television commercials. However, advertisers, who aim to reduce zapping rates, might be ill advised to increase the overall pleasantness of their informative television commercials, or increase pleasantness to mitigate the momentary information content. The initial evidence derived from the significant positive interaction terms in our model of zapping suggests that pleasantness and informativeness are incompatible at higher levels and positive velocities. A reduced motivation and ability to process information under high levels and velocities of pleasantness combined with a high, externally paced, level and velocity of informativeness may be responsible for this. An alternative explanation is that pleasantness favors a top-down processing strategy in which consumer rely on their own knowledge structures, while informativeness promotes a bottom-up strategy, in which details of the stimulus are focused on. These strategies may conflict at higher levels of pleasantness and information, and consumers may zap away from the commercial to cope with that. Results are robust to ad uniqueness and ad familiarity. Implications for emotion theory and research conclude the paper.

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