Examinations of Relatedness Between Direct Consumer Premiums and Promoted Products: Assessing Impact in Different Time Periods

Joseph M. Jones, North Dakota State University
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - Direct consumer premiums (DCPs) have been defined as package-related, free bonus items offered by manufacturers to consumers when they purchase promoted products. Manufacturers have delivered DCPs to consumers in one of four ways: located in display units near the product and given away free at the point of purchase, contained within the product package, attached to the product package, or as the product package itself.
[ to cite ]:
Joseph M. Jones (2005) ,"Examinations of Relatedness Between Direct Consumer Premiums and Promoted Products: Assessing Impact in Different Time Periods", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 482-483.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, 2005     Pages 482-483

EXAMINATIONS OF RELATEDNESS BETWEEN DIRECT CONSUMER PREMIUMS AND PROMOTED PRODUCTS: ASSESSING IMPACT IN DIFFERENT TIME PERIODS

Joseph M. Jones, North Dakota State University

EXTENDED ABSTRACT -

Direct consumer premiums (DCPs) have been defined as package-related, free bonus items offered by manufacturers to consumers when they purchase promoted products. Manufacturers have delivered DCPs to consumers in one of four ways: located in display units near the product and given away free at the point of purchase, contained within the product package, attached to the product package, or as the product package itself.

Previous consumer sales promotion studies on the impact of DCPs have dealt with its short-term effects on promoted product evaluation in promotion time periods. The long-term delayed effects of DCPs in postpromotion time periods have received almost no research attention.

Almost three decades ago, Prentice (1975, 1977) identified different levels of complementary linkage (i.e., relatedness) between DCPs and promoted products, and suggested that DCPs might be viewed as existing along a continuum from high to low, or no, association with the promoted product’s use. Prentice proposed that higher-related DCPs (e.g., free toothbrushes given with toothpaste, free razor blades attached to cans of shaving cream) might stimulate more enduring effects in postpromotion time periods than lower-related DCPs (e.g., free aspirin given with toothpaste, free razor blades attached to cans of soft drinks). However, there has not been any study that has specifically investigated these differences. Further, some researchers have identified an apparent contradiction between Prentice’s propositions and promotion practice. In practice, U.S. consumer packaged-goods manufacturers have used lower-related DCPs much more than higher-related ones.

The purpose of the current research is to investigate the impact of different levels of direct consumer premium relatedness in different time periods. The basic issue that this research addresses is: if DCPs stimulate favorable effects in promotion time periods, do certain DCPs continue to stimulate delayed effects in postpromotion time periods? From managerial decision-making perspectives, an understanding of whether certain DCPs might have different effects in any or all time periods than other DCPs would seem to offer much to the discipline.

Some allied studies dealing with advertising have examined the long-term attitudinal effects of related- vs. nonrelated-advertising cues. For example, findings from research on advertising-evoked attitudes and attitude persistence by Sengupta, Goodstein, and Boninger (1997) indicated that advertising cues that are related to the promoted product allow for creation of strong memory linkages. Their study used different types of endorsers for a new brand of mouthwash. In one case the new mouthwash was endorsed by the makers of a well-respected brand of oral hygiene products (i.e., Crest) and in the other case by a well-liked television celebrity (i.e., Jerry Seinfeld). Results from a pilot study confirmed that the Crest cue was significantly more related to mouthwash than was the Seinfeld cue. While both types of endorsers led to favorable initial attitudes, attitudes of individuals exposed to the mouthwash associated with Crest persisted longer than attitudes of individuals exposed to the mouthwash endorsed by Seinfeld. Although attitudinal effects of advertising cues might be different from effects of DCPs, previous research on relatedness cues and other forms of marketing communications help to provide guidelines for the current research.

Previous work by Haugtvedt and Petty (1992) and others (e.g., Haugtvedt and Strathman 1990; Petty and Cacioppo 1986; Petty, Cacioppo, and Schumann 1983) on the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) are used to help develop the hypotheses. Studies on the ELM focus on the extent to which individuals’ attitudes are determined by careful scrutiny of available information in the persuasion environment. In some instances, individuals are both motivated and able to extensively process and elaborate on issue-relevant information in forming or changing attitudes (persuasion via central route). In other instances, individuals’ attitudes are formed or changed through simple associations rather than scrutiny of information (persuasion via peripheral route). Previous studies have found that attitudes developed or changed via the central route decayed slower than attitudes formed via the peripheral route. If principles derived from the ELM can be used in predicting response to DCP promotions, then it is believed that higher-related DCPs serve as high-association cues and induce individuals to think more carefully about promoted products and lower-related DCPs only influence attitudes via the peripheral route.

The current research uses two repeated-measures-experiments. The experiments specifically consider two levels (higher and lower) of relatedness between DCPs and the promoted products. Both experiments examine the effects of different DCPs in promotion time periods (i.e., when individuals are exposed to DCP promotions) and postpromotion time periods (i.e., after retraction of DCP promotions). Experiment-two is used to substantiate findings from experiment-one and to examine delayed effects in a more extended postpromotion time period.

Both studies use similar control groups and between-subjects factors (i.e., higher- and lower-levels of relatedness between the DCP and the promoted product, and one level of DCP desirability); yet incorporate different within-subjects factors (i.e., repeated measures over different time periods). Experiment-one investigates effects in three time periods (two promotion time periods and one short-term postpromotion time period), and experiment-two considers four time periods (two promotion time periods, one short-term postpromotion time period, and one more-extended postpromotion time period).

Preliminary results indicate that both higher- and lower-related DCPs stimulate initial favorable attitudes in promotion time periods. The results also indicate that only higher-related DCPs continue to stimulate enduring effects in postpromotion time periods.

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