Advertisers’ Theories of Consumers: Why Use Negative Emotions to Sell?

June Cotte, University of Western Ontario
Robin Ritchie, University of Western Ontario
ABSTRACT - This paper explores the views of advertising professionals regarding consumers, and uses them as a framework to compare practitioner and academic theories regarding negative emotional appeals in advertising. We identify three broad views of consumers that appear to guide advertisers when they develop ads: (1) a Adesensitized consumer@ who pays little attention to advertising; (2) a Asophisticated consumer@ who is conscious of advertisers’ persuasive intentions and skilled at recognizing specific tactics, and; (3) a Atribal consumer@ who is driven by a fundamental need to be accepted as part of a larger group. In addition to identifying areas of agreement and discrepancy between practitioner and academic theories, our research exposes interesting limitations in the working theories of advertising professionals. We also argue that dialogue between academics and practitioners provides an opportunity to enhance advertising theory and practice, and suggest that our approach could be widely applied for this purpose.
[ to cite ]:
June Cotte and Robin Ritchie (2005) ,"Advertisers’ Theories of Consumers: Why Use Negative Emotions to Sell?", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 24-31.