The Attitude Toward Advertising of Advertising Practitioners, Homemakers and Students in the Netherlands and Belgium

ABSTRACT - An analysis of the literature suggests that at least four orientations in the attitude toward advertising as an institution can be distinguished: the hedonic, utilitarian, process, and socio-cultural orientation. These orientations were the basis for studying the attitude that people have toward advertising as an institution. An empirical study in two countries, The Netherlands and Belgium, including three groups, advertising practitioners, students of communication, and homemakers was conducted to explore differences in level and structure of the attitude. The results reveal significant differences between countries and groups. Unexpectedly, homemakers and students were quite similar in their attitude, both overall, and on specific aspects. Individual difference multidimensional scaling revealed that compared to the other two groups, advertising practitioners stress the relevance of advertising for consumer decisison making much more. Homemakers and students place more emphasis on 'common sense' knowledge and on the effects of advertising for society and culture.



Citation:

Rik Pieters and Hans Baumgartner (1993) ,"The Attitude Toward Advertising of Advertising Practitioners, Homemakers and Students in the Netherlands and Belgium", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, eds. W. Fred Van Raaij and Gary J. Bamossy, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 39-45.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, 1993      Pages 39-45

THE ATTITUDE TOWARD ADVERTISING OF ADVERTISING PRACTITIONERS, HOMEMAKERS AND STUDENTS IN THE NETHERLANDS AND BELGIUM

Rik Pieters, Erasmus University and Nijenrode University, The Netherlands

Hans Baumgartner, Pennsylvania State University, USA

ABSTRACT -

An analysis of the literature suggests that at least four orientations in the attitude toward advertising as an institution can be distinguished: the hedonic, utilitarian, process, and socio-cultural orientation. These orientations were the basis for studying the attitude that people have toward advertising as an institution. An empirical study in two countries, The Netherlands and Belgium, including three groups, advertising practitioners, students of communication, and homemakers was conducted to explore differences in level and structure of the attitude. The results reveal significant differences between countries and groups. Unexpectedly, homemakers and students were quite similar in their attitude, both overall, and on specific aspects. Individual difference multidimensional scaling revealed that compared to the other two groups, advertising practitioners stress the relevance of advertising for consumer decisison making much more. Homemakers and students place more emphasis on 'common sense' knowledge and on the effects of advertising for society and culture.

INTRODUCTION

Advertising is everywhere. It's on television, in sports stadiums, on the side of trucks, on coasters, bottles, balloons, flags, clothing, books, in magazines, on billboards. Advertising pervades society. Although a lot of research has been performed on the perception and effect of individual advertising messages, less is known about the way people perceive advertising as a societal institution. Wright (1986) stresses that more research is needed about the schemer's schemas of consumers C the knowledge structures that consumers have about the techniques (purportedly) used by advertisers to influence them. Next to being interesting pe se, the perceptions that people have of advertising as a social institution are likely to have an impact on their perceptions of specific advertising stimuli, and thus on the effectiveness of advertising in general (Greyser, 1973; MacKenzie and Lutz, 1989). This makes it important to gain insight in the perceptions and attitudes of specific groups in society toward advertising as an institution. With the rapid internationalization of marketing efforts, understanding the differences between countries in perceptions and attitudes toward advertising becomes pertinent.

The goal of the present study is to investigate the attitude toward advertising of three relevant groups in society in two countries. The structure of the attitude toward advertising is focused upon.

THE ATTITUDE TOWARD ADVERTISING

The attitude toward advertising as an institution can be defined as the overall evaluation of advertising at large. Here, the cognitive structure underlying the attitude will be focused upon.

The first comprehensive and systematic examinations of the attitude toward advertising were conducted in the 1960's. Bauer and Greyser (1968) report the results of survey studies among over 1,800 male and female consumers, and among over 2,300 businessmen in the U.S.. In a partial replication and extension of the Bauer and Greyser study, Haller (1974) surveyed 500 students, from a number of different fields and schools in the U.S..

The results of these studies showed that both businessmen and the general public were positive about certain aspects of advertising, e.g., it raises the standard of living, it encourages the development of better products and so forth, but relatively negative about other aspects, e.g., advertising persuades people to buy things they don't want, it insults intelligence, and it does not present a true picture. Businessmen were most positive about advertising (Bauer and Greyser, 1968).

The literature (Reid and Soley, 1982) indicates that the attitude toward advertising in the U.S. became less favorable from the beginning of the 1930's until the mid-seventies, but that it has become more positive since then (Gaski and Etzel, 1986).

Advertising is a too complex societal phenomenon to simply analyse the overall evaluation that consumers have of it (Gaski and Etzel, 1986). An analysis of the cognitive structure that is the basis of the attitude provides a richer and deeper understanding. Several specific aspects of the attitude toward advertising have received due attention in research. Some discuss the social and economic consequences of advertising (Mishan, 1977; Reid and Soley, 1982), while others focus on the ethic and aesthetic aspects (Bauer and Greyser, 1968; Haller, 1974; Kirkpatrick, 1986). Pollay (1986, 1987) and Holbrook (1987) review a number of general arguments against and in favor of advertising, and a number of different elements within each argument.

An analysis of the literature indicates four major orientations in or aspects of the attitude toward advertising as an institution:

1. The hedonic orientation

2. The utilitarian orientation

3. The process orientation

4. The socio-cultural orientation

The hedonic orientation concerns the content of advertising. It focuses on the extent to which the experience of advertising stimuli by itself delivers pleasure or pain to the consumer. In this orientation, advertising stimuli are treated as an end in themselves, instead of as means to some ends that lie beyond them: the advertising stimuli are perceived as objects of consumption (Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982). As one can go to the museum to experience or 'consume' 17th century paintings, one can watch television to experience or consume commercials. From a hedonic perspective, advertising is beautiful, ugly, amusing, boring, irritating or entertaining.

The utilitarian orientation concerns the consequences of advertising for consumers in their decision making role. It focuses on the economics of advertising. Here, advertising is treated as a means (e.g., information or desinformation) to an end (making a decision about consumption). The utilitarian orientation of advertising has dominated consumer behavior research (Hirschman and Holbrook, 1982). Consumers are exposed to advertising stimuli and evaluate the specific stimuli, and advertising in general, on their role in making choices between products and brands. Consumers may feel that advertising provides information about new and existing products, that it stimulates competition and thus helps to lower the price of products, which benefits the consumer. Also, advertising may be perceived to make the market supply structure transparent. In an utilitarian orientation, advertising is perceived to raise or lower the price of products, to be useful or useless, to be instrumental in making better decisions, economically sound or wasteful and so on.

The distinction between the hedonic and utilitarian orientation in the attitude toward advertising is also suggested by Ahtola (1983) in research on the attitude toward the Ad, and is in line with the reasoning of Holbrook and Hirschman (1982) on the experiential aspects of consumption. Edwards (1979) makes an analogous distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic goods. Intrinsic goods are those goods that are worth having, choosing, desiring, experiencing, bringing or sustaining in existence for their own sake, while extrinsic goods are chosen as a means to an end that lies beyond them. The distinction is also analogous to that made between the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of people (e.g., Kruglanski, Riter, Amitai, Marolin, Shabtai and Zaksh, 1975), where intrinsic motivation is caused by the content of an activity, and where the extrinsic motivation is caused by the consequences that an activity has.

The process orientation focuses on the techniques of advertising, and in general persuasion. Advertising is sometimes charged to use emotional stimuli, like humor and erotics, and subliminal stimuli to manipulate people (Pollay, 1986). Sometimes, it is perceived to play on lower (or higher) needs of people. The schemer's schema as defined by Wright (1986) is virtually the same as the process orientation in the attitude toward advertising as an institution.

The socio-cultural orientation stresses the indirect effects of the institution of advertising on society at large. For instance, it is sometimes argued that advertising leads to distrust of authority, loss of community ethic, charity, compassion and the like and that it leads to positive consequences, like the rapid diffusion of culture and the subsidization of newspapers (Pollay, 1986; Holbrook, 1987).

Whether or not and to what extent particular orientations are activated when evaluating advertising as an institution is a different matter. In the role of a consumer, it is likely that the hedonic and utilitarian orientations dominate, while in the role of a citizen, the process and socio-cultural orientations might me activated.

The different orientations of the attitude toward advertising are not necessarily orthogonal, or the extremes of a single dimension. Some objects or phenomena are high in hedonic quality and low in utilitarian quality, or the other way around. Yet, objects can be high or low both in hedonic and in utilitarian quality (Edwards, 1979). The covariation between the hedonic and utilitarian component of some object or issue may be considerable in practice. Some modern chairs, as the authors can attest on the basis of direct experience, have a high hedonic quality, but do not seem to have been developed with the concept of 'sitting' in mind. Other recliners are wonders of comfort but will never end up in an art museum. Yet, some household appliances, utensils, cars, chairs, and so on are beautifully designed, while they perform well on their primary functions, at the same time.

Similarly, the orientations in the attitude toward advertising might covary. Consumers may, e.g., feel that beautiful advertising cannot be informative, and that good advertising should be dull, resulting in a negative covariation between the two components. A positive covariation might result, e.g., when consumers feel that advertising helps them in making better decisions, and in addition, is a form of art.

Several scholars have assumed and argued that the attitude toward advertising is a multidimensional construct without actually analysing this multidimensional character empirically (see, e.g., Bauer and Greyser, 1968; Haller, 1974; Reid and Soley, 1982; Pollay, 1986). The study of Larkin (1977) is an exception. He administered a questionnaire containing 26 items about advertising as an institution to 80 college students. Q-factor analyses revealed one dominant dimension expressing the overall evaluation (good-bad) of advertising. All students were critical, yet based on different considerations. Sometimes, a basically favorable attitude was complemented by a negative attitude toward some of the specific activities of advertising.

GOAL AND HYPOTHESES

Since most studies to date surveyed the attitude toward advertising of the public in the U.S., little is known about the attitude toward advertising in other countries. Besides, most studies are not of recent origin, and they deal with quite general groups: the general public, businessmen from different lines of business, and students of different fields. To date, research on the attitude toward advertising of advertising practitioners is absent. Finally, most studies neither analyse the differences between specific groups nor the cognitive structure of the attitude toward advertising explicitly. The present study was conducted to gain insight in the structure of the attitude toward advertising, and in the differences between specific groups and countries.

Belgium and The Netherlands

The study was conducted in Belgium and The Netherlands. The two countries differ in a number of aspects that are likely to affect the attitude toward advertising. At the same time, the dutch language is spoken both in The Netherlands and a large part of Belgium (Flanders). This allowed cross-cultural research without an important source of bias: difference in language and semantics (Grunert and Scherhorn, 1990). Among the differences between the two countries that may affect the attitude toward advertising, we treat the religious and cultural climate, and the media environment briefly.

Currently, 27% of the Dutch population over 18 years is a registered protestant, while 36% is a registered catholic. Most catholics live in the southern part, while most protestants live in the northern part. The exact percentage of catholics in Flanders are not known to the Belgian bureau of statistics, but common knowledge suggests that it is considerably higher than in The Netherlands (see, e.g., Van Istendael 1989, p.161). Although it is perhaps not religion per se that affects the attitude toward advertising, the cultural climate that it forms may. Holbrook and Hirschman (1982, p.138) have suggested that consumers differ in the extent to which they value the hedonic quality and the utilitarian quality of products and services, arguing that the hedonic quality might be particularly valued by a creative, non-protestant, Type B personality. Likewise, the protestant personality would value the utilitarian aspect of products and services more (see also Furnham, 1974). The suggestion can be extended to differences between countries.

Prior to and during the study, television advertising did exist in The Netherlands, but not in (dutch-speaking) Belgium. Research (Bauer and Greyser, 1968, chapter 8; Haller, 1974) shows that television advertising tends to be evaluated as more annoying and irritating than print advertising. Because of this difference in the media situation, The Netherlands may have a less positive evaluation of the hedonic aspect of advertising than Belgium has.

The analysis leads to the hypothesis that Belgium will have a more positive and less negative attitude toward advertising than The Netherlands, in particular concerning the hedonic aspect.

Practitioners, Homemakers and Communication Students

Three groups of subjects participated in the study: advertising practitioners, homemakers and university students in communication.

Practitioners are engaged in the process of actually developing, making and evaluating advertising campaigns, and thus they represent 'the inside view' of advertising. Research on the attitude toward advertising of advertising practitioners is absent, although the attitude is likely to be (very) positive.

Students and homemakers represent 'the outside view' of advertising. Students were included since they form an important market segment both in size, buying power and buying habits. Moreover, students tend to be opinion leaders on many issues of societal relevance. Knowing what students presently believe and feel about advertising may provide information about the future opinions of other groups in society. Finally, communication students are prospective advertisers, researchers, account executives. The rationale for including homemakers in the study is evident.

In general, business people tend to be more positive about the merits of advertising than other groups in society (Bauer and Greyser, 1968; Pollay, 1986). Especially advertising practitioners, as stakeholders, will be more positive about advertising than other groups in society.

Research conducted in the US in the 1970's showed (e.g., Haller, 1974) that students tended to be more critical about the merits of advertising than others (see also Bauer and Greyser, 1968). Likewise, it can be expected that compared to the practitioners, students will have a less positive attitude toward advertising as an institution. Whether communication students in The Netherlands and Belgium in the 1980's and 1990's are more critical about advertising than homemakers is an empirical question.

This leads to the hypothesis that compared to the homemakers and the students, advertising practitioners will be more positive about all aspect of advertising, in particular about the utilitarian aspects. Also, advertising practitioners in Belgium will be most positive.

DESIGN OF THE STUDY

Sampling and Subjects

A total of 2 (countries) x 3 (groups) x 60=360 subjects participated in the study. The students were recruited from the University of Leuven in Belgium and from the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. All students majored in communication. They completed a questionnaire during regular classroom hours. 39% of the students was male and 61% was female. 98% was under 31 years. There were no differences between countries in the age and the sex of the students.

Both the homemakers and the practitioners were interviewed by telephone. The homemakers were all living in comparable, industrialized, urban regions around either Antwerp (in Flanders) or Rotterdam / Amsterdam (the northern part of The Netherlands). They were selected using a random-number dialing procedure. 30% of the homemakers was under 31 years, 38% was between 31 and 45 years, 33% was over 45 years. There was no difference between countries in the age of the homemakers (chi-square is .16, df=2, p=.92). The practitioners were either account executive or art director at a registered advertising agency C agencies from all turnover categories were included. 75% of the advertising practitioners was male, 25% was female. 33% was under 31 years, 54% was between 31 and 45 years, the remaining 13% was over 46. Differences between countries in the sex and age of the practitioners were absent (respective chi-squares are .64, df=1, p=.42, and 3.32, df=2, p=.19). Within the group of practitioners, and the group of students separately, t-tests were performed to analyse possible sex-differences in the attitude toward advertising. None of the t-tests was statistically significant. The data were collected between December 1988 and April 1989 by trained interviewers.

Questionnaire

The questionnaires for the two countries and the three groups were identical (content and language). The questionnaire included 8 items designed to capture the hedonic aspect of the attitude toward advertising, and 12 items to capture the utilitarian aspect. Also, several related items were included. All items were accompanied by 5-point Likert scales ranging from 'completely disagree' (coded as 1) to 'completely agree' (5), with a mid-point labelled 'don't know, no opinion' (3). The items were selected from previous research on the attitude toward advertising (Bauer and Greyser, 1968; Haller, 1974; Larkin, 1977), ensuring that the hedonic and the utilitarian aspect were well represented. The (approximate) wording of the twenty items is provided in Table 2.

RESULTS

An overall measure of the attitude toward advertising as an institution, Aad-G, was constructed by averaging the scores of the twenty individual items. Prior to scale construction, all items that were worded in a negative direction were recoded so that a higher score indicates a more positive attitude. The coefficient alpha of the Aad-G scale was .78. In the final scale a '1' is most negative, a '5' most negative, and a '3' is neutral. Next, a 2 x 3 ANOVA was conducted on Aad-G. The results of the analysis are presented in Table 1.

In total 37.0% of the variation in Aad-G can be explained by Country, Group and their interaction. Although all three effects are significant, most of the variation is accounted for by Group (33% of the total). Clearly, the professionals are significantly more positive than the other two groups. The interaction is significant because the Belgian professionals are more positive than their Dutch colleagues. Practically speaking, the interaction is not very important. Note that overall the three groups in both countries are slightly positive. Univariate two-way analyses of variance (ANOVA) were performed on each of the 20 items separately to interpet the nature of the differences between countries and groups in greater detail.

The mean scores on the items measuring the attitude towards advertising for the three groups in The Netherlands and in Belgium, and the results of the univariate analyses of variance are presented in Table 2. The items are ordered with respect to the significance of the effects.

The countries, the groups and their interaction all have a significant effect, e.g., on the item 'advertising makes society cheerful' (CHE in Table 2). In general, the results show that the hedonic (and socio-cultural) aspect of advertising is evaluated more positively in Belgium than in The Netherlands: the Belgian subjects believe more strongly that advertising amuses, is art, is progressive, makes society more cheerful, and they believe less strongly that advertising irritates.

The utilitarian aspect is evaluated more negatively in Belgium: the Belgian subjects believe more strongly that advertising provides false and misleading information, influences without awareness, fosters the need for products, make people buy things they do not need, provides information about new products, and is a necessary evil.

As hypothesized, the advertising practitioners are consistently more positive and less negative about advertising as an institution than the other two groups. For instance, only 11% of the advertising practitioners think that advertising raises the cost of products, compared to 46% of the other groups. Of the advertising practitioners 45% believe that advertising makes people buy things they don't need, compared to 80% of the other groups. A total of 78% of the advertising practitioners believe that people can make better decisions because of advertising, compared to only 20% of the other groups. Of the advertising practitioners 63% believe that advertising has a positive effect on 'our culture', compared to 31% of the other groups.

TABLE 1

RESULTS OF THE ANOVA ON THE OVERALL ATTITUDE TOWARDS ADVERTISING

TABLE 2

MEAN SCORES OF GROUPS IN COUNTRIES ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARD ADVERTISING ITEMS

The results in Table 2 show that the students and the homemakers are quite close in their attitude toward advertising as an institution. Also, only 5 interaction effects were statistically significant.

Cognitive structure in the attitude toward advertising

Non-metric multidimensional scaling was performed to analyse the structure of the attitude toward advertising as an institution. Since the subgroups (The Netherlands, Belgium, homemakers, practitioners, students) in the present study were expected to be heterogeneous in generating their data, and since the interest was in finding the structure in the attitude items common to the subgroups, INDividual difference SCALing (INDSCAL) analyses were performed (Arabie, Carroll, DeSarbo, 1987). The INDSCAL model assumes that a set (r=1...R) of common perceptual dimensions underlie the (n=1...N) attitude toward advertising items (called 'objects') of the (k=1...K) subgroups (called 'sources'), but that the subgroups differ in the (w=1...W) weights they attach to the perceptual dimensions.

Firstly, euclidean distances (proximities) between the 20 attitude toward advertising items were determined. Next, non-metric INDSCAL analyses were performed on the matrix of proximities using the ALSCAL procedure (Takane, Young and Leeuw, 1977) in SPSS-x. The goodness-of-fit values for the solutions are respectively (first: S-Stress, second: Stress, third: R-square) for two dimensions .324, .259, .661, for three dimensions .252, .190, .736, for four dimensions .210, .153, .793, for five dimensions .171, .124, .851.

These fit values suggest that a three-dimensional solution is appropriate: 73.6% of the variance in the euclidean distances is accounted for by the corresponding scaled distances in the solution. Adding extra dimensions does not improve the goodness-of-fit measures very much. Moreover, in the four-dimensional solution, the third dimension could not be interpreted substantively. Accordingly, the three-dimensional solution is reported in Table 3. The items are ordered with respect to their values on the first dimension of the group object space. The meaning of the labels is explained in Table 2.

To support the interpretation of the INDSCAL solution, separate cluster analyses were performed on the weights of the objects and on the weights of the sources in the 3-dimensional solution (Coxon, 1982). Complete linkage clustering and Ward's minimum variance method gave essentially the same results: three distinct clusters emerge in the object weights, and two clusters emerge in the source weights. Cluster membership of the objects and sources is indicated in the last column of Table 3.

The first cluster of the object weights includes positive and negative items. The second cluster comprises only positive items, while the third comprises only negative items. The three clusters are represented in Table 3. The cluster analysis on the source weights distinguishes the practitioners from the homemakers and the students. The results of cluster analyses performed on the overall matrix of euclidean distances (aggregated across countries and subgroups) were virtually identical to those performed on the object weights. The 3-dimensional solution is readily interpretable.

The first dimension is descriptive in nature: both in the negative and in the positive extreme, positive and negative evaluations of advertising are present. The dimension is labelled 'Common Sense', since it differentiates standard, evident, common sense beliefs about advertising (with negative scale values, and a membership of cluster C) from specific, less common sense, beliefs. The common sense aspect of the beliefs is shown by the fact that all six groups score high on these beliefs. Common sense beliefs include that '.. advertising influences without awareness'(AWA: 91% of the subjects agree), that it provides information about new products (INF: 89% agrees), amuses people (AMU: 85% agrees), exaggerates the benefits of products (EXA: 82% agree). Less common sense beliefs include that advertising keeps people dumb (DUM: 15% agrees), that it helps people to make better decisions (BET: 39% agrees, mainly because of the high percentage for the practitioners) and to gain self-knowledge (KNO: 16% agrees). People may differ in the extent to which they subscribe to the common set of beliefs, but there is clearly seems to be 'common knowledge' about what advertising as an institution is or does.

The second dimension differentiates the positive from the negative sides of advertising with respect to Consumer Decision Making. It cuts through all orientations in the attitude toward advertising. On the positive side, advertising provides information about new products, helps people to make better decisions, is progressive and amuses. On the negative side, advertising gives false and misleading information, keeps people dumb, makes products expensive, plays on the lower needs of the consumer.

The third dimension differentiates the positive and negative sides of advertising with respect to Society and Culture. It combines the hedonic and socio-cultural orientations. The positive side includes that advertising is art, amuses, makes our society cheerful, has a positive effect on our culture, is progressive. The negative side includes that advertising irritates, is offensive to certain people, keeps people dumb, stimulates prejudices, makes people dissatisfied.

Inspection of the source weights reveals that the first dimension 'Common Sense' dominates the perceptual space of the homemakers and the students both in The Netherlands and in Belgium. Only the practitioners, both in The Netherlands and in Belgium, weigh the second dimension, 'consumer decision making', heavily. In fact, the perceptual space of the Dutch practitioners is completely dominated by the second dimension. The Belgian practitioners weigh the second and the third dimension 'society and culture', equally. Inspection of the flattened weight space (Schiffman, Reynolds and Young, 1981) supports this interpretation. Overall differences between countries in using the perceptual dimensions are relatively small.

CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION

The results of the analyses confirm that the Belgian (Flemish) subjects were significantly more positive about advertising than the Dutch subjects. In particular, the Belgian subjects were more positive about the hedonic and socio-cultural aspects of advertising as an institution. The Dutch subjects were more positive about the utilitarian and the process aspects. Perhaps this finding is illustrative of a more general difference between The Netherlands and Belgium. Since long, Dutch consumers go to Belgium in the weekend to spend money on the hedonic aspects of life. Few Belgian consumers feel the urge to cross the border to look for hedonics in The Netherlands.

Also as expected, the advertising practitioners are significantly more positive than the other two groups, not surprisingly given that they work in the field. Yet, it should be noted that practitioners are not uncritical. For instance, 50% of them believe that advertising irritates. Somewhat unexpected, the students of communication hardly differed from the homemakers, both in Belgium and in The Netherlands, both in the magnitude of their responses as in the perceptual structure underlying the attitude toward advertising. Perhaps the instrument used here was not sensitive enough to detect diferences that actually exist. It is more likely that students in communication just have a similar cognitive structure with respect to advertising as an institution as the homemakers, and evaluate it similarly.

The studies of Bauer and Greyser (1968), Haller (1974) and Larkin (1977) show that in the sixties and seventies, the attitude toward advertising as an institution was dominated by a general evaluative dimension: one was either positive or negative about advertising. Students (and to a lesser extent, the general public) were mainly negative about advertising as an institution, while business people were mainly positive about advertising. The results of the present study indicate that the attitude toward advertising of our subjects is more balanced than that.

People or groups may differ in their orientation when evaluating a phenomenon, based on the relationship they have with the phenomenon. When evaluating a new rock song, a music publisher might focus on the economic consequences that the song might have, i.e., on the utilitarian qualities. A music critic might focus on the innovativeness, the use of special instruments and rhythms and the like, i.e., the process aspects. The average consumer might focus on the feelings and moods stimulated by the song, the hedonic qualities. Likewise, advertising practitioners, compared to homemakers and students, will focus more on the utilitarian aspects and less on the hedonic aspects of advertising as an institution.

TABLE 3

OBJECT AND SOURCE WEIGHTS OF THE THREE-DIMENSIONAL INDSCAL SOLUTION

Homemakers, advertising practitioners and communication students are not just either positive or negative about advertising as an institution. Three perceptual dimensions underlying the attitude toward advertising were explored. The first dimension distinguishes 'Common Sense' beliefs from less common sense beliefs about advertising. The second dimension differentiates positive from negative aspects of advertising for 'Consumer Decision Making'. The third dimension differentiates positive from negative aspects of advertising for 'Society and Culture'. The practitioners place a strong emphasis on the 'Consumer Decision Making' dimension, and hardly any on the 'Common Sense' dimension, while the pattern of results is opposite for the homemakers and the students. The practitioners in The Netherlands hardly use the 'Society and Culture' dimension, while this dimension is relevant for the practitioners in Belgium.

A benefit of the INDSCAL model is the inherently unique orientation that usually results for the object space (Arabie, Carroll, DeSarbo, 1987). Neither translation, reflection, nor permutation of the axes of the object space has any statistical or substantive importance when interpreting solutions. This uniqueness suggests that the dimensions of the object space tend to correspond to some 'fundamental' perceptual or judgmental dimensions. Future research on the attitude toward advertising may investigate how different groups in different countries use these dimensions over time.

Advertising has been called a 'distorted mirror' of society (Pollay, 1986). Although our subjects were well aware of the distortion of the mirror, their balanced attitude toward advertising as an institution is in contrast with the unbalanced attitude sometimes found in scholarly discussions.

Research on the effect of the attitude toward advertising on attitudes towards advertisements and products/brands (Lutz, MacKenzie and Belch, 1983; MacKenzie and Lutz, 1989) has treated the attitude toward advertising as a unidimensional construct. Future research in this domain might take into account that several orientations underly the attitude toward advertising as an institution, and that several dimensions can be distinguished in its cognitive structure.

The present research suggests that consumers seem to know and understand to a considerable extent how advertising tries to influence them. Little is known about the effect of these 'schemer's schema' on the processing of specific advertising stimuli. Are consumers well equipped to defend themselves against persuasive attempts? But why then are people sometimes persuaded despite their knowledge about the persuasive techniques of advertisers? Future research might study the effect of the attitude toward advertising, and of specific orientations in the attitude on the processing and effectiveness of advertising.

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Authors

Rik Pieters, Erasmus University and Nijenrode University, The Netherlands
Hans Baumgartner, Pennsylvania State University, USA



Volume

E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1 | 1993



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I11. Self-Presentation in the Mating Market: The Influence of Gender and Sexual Orientation on Profiles on Tinder and Grindr

Chaim Kuhnreich, Concordia University, Canada
Lilian Carvalho, FGV/EAESP
Gad Saad, Concordia University, Canada

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The Best of Both Worlds: Androgyny in Consumer Choice

Niusha Jones, University of North Texas
Blair Kidwell, University of North Texas

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Memory-Based Models of Predicting Inferences about Brand Quality

Yvetta Simonyan, University of Bath, UK
Dan Goldstein, Microsoft Research

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