The Evolution and Antecedents of Transformational Advertising: a Conceptual Model

ABSTRACT - Transformational advertising provides a key concept for explaining consumers' reactions to advertising. The Product Life Cycle literature suggests that advertising evolves as product-markets develop. The consumer learning perspective suggests that consumers also evolve as markets mature. This suggests that consumers' information needs change with the passage of time. The antecedents of transformational advertising are identified, and an overall model is created to predict the likelihood of transformational advertising. Among the proposed predictor variables are consumer factors (e.g., involvement, conspicuousness) and market factors (e.g., product homogeneity, technological stability). The framework presented here furthers our understanding of the relationship between consumer behavior and advertising trends.


Vanitha Swaminathan, George M. Zinkhan, and Srinivas K. Reddy (1996) ,"The Evolution and Antecedents of Transformational Advertising: a Conceptual Model", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 23, eds. Kim P. Corfman and John G. Lynch Jr., Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 49-55.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 23, 1996      Pages 49-55


Vanitha Swaminathan, University of Georgia

George M. Zinkhan, University of Georgia

Srinivas K. Reddy, University of Georgia


Transformational advertising provides a key concept for explaining consumers' reactions to advertising. The Product Life Cycle literature suggests that advertising evolves as product-markets develop. The consumer learning perspective suggests that consumers also evolve as markets mature. This suggests that consumers' information needs change with the passage of time. The antecedents of transformational advertising are identified, and an overall model is created to predict the likelihood of transformational advertising. Among the proposed predictor variables are consumer factors (e.g., involvement, conspicuousness) and market factors (e.g., product homogeneity, technological stability). The framework presented here furthers our understanding of the relationship between consumer behavior and advertising trends.


The metaphors of advertising as "brain surgery" and the advertiser as "mirror maker" have now become clichTs (Fox 1984; Pollay 1986). Advertising has been accused of shaping mass tastes and reinforcing materialistic values in society (thus practicing brain surgery on the populace). The use of emotion to sell mundane objects (e.g., toothpaste and detergent) creates an artificial world where "...socks, tires, cameras, instantaneous hot water heaters...[become] symbols and proofs of excellence..., substitutes for joy and passion and wisdom" (Lewis 1922, p.95).

The use of emotion and imagery has an economic function; advertisers employ emotion to link advertising experiences and feelings to the actual experience of using the advertised product (Puto and Wells 1984). In some instances, emotional desires dominate utilitarian ones for guiding product choices (Hirschman and Holbrook 1982). The main focus of this paper is emotion in advertising (that is, transformational advertising).

Transformational advertising provides a key concept for explaining consumers' reactions to commercial messages. The purpose of this paper is to create an overall model for explaining the incidence and use of transformational advertising. As such, some predictors of this model are managerial in nature, while others are more closely linked to traditional consumer behavior variables. The ultimate goal of the paper is to understand how markets evolve, with a special emphasis on understanding how advertising messages evolve in a consumer market. Some of the key consumer behavior concepts that are incorporated into the model include: consumer learning, elasticity of demand, level of risk, involvement, and product conspicuousness. Strategic variables include product homogeneity, market concentration, and technological stability. Consumer and strategic variables are integrated to explain the criterion variable "likelihood of transformational advertising". We are interested in creating a model to understand the conditions that are conducive to the appearance of transformational advertising in the marketplace.

Informational and Transformational Advertising

In keeping with the Puto-Wells (1984) conceptualization, an informational advertisement is defined as one that provides consumers with factual, relevant brand data. An ad is informational if the consumer perceives the data as important and verifiable. An ad for a book-club membership that contains price information (e.g., Buy one get one free) is an informational ad. A transformational ad is one that associates the experience of using the product with a unique set of psychological characteristics that consumers do not typically associate with the brand. For example, an ad for a long-distance company that encourages consumers to "Reach out and touch someone" transforms the experience of making long-distance calls by linking it to emotions; this ad may be viewed as transformational.

The terms informational and transformational advertising do not mean to suggest that an informational ad is purely informational and a transformational ad is purely transformational. Instead according to Puto and Wells (1984), it is possible to classify an ad as 'primarily informational' or 'primarily transformational' or neither. Elements of both informational and transformational advertising may exist in each ad. It is in this sense that the terms informational and transformational advertising appear throughout this paper.

Familiarity and Information Search Behavior

Much of the literature relating to information-search behavior is relevant to our explanation of why one form of advertising (e.g., informational or transformational) is likely to be more prevalent than another. Advertising is one form of mass communication that consumers use as a source of information in the adoption process (Berning and Jacoby 1974). Punj and Staelin's (1983) work suggests two factors that account for increased information search: usable prior knowledge that is inversely related to search and prior memory structure that facilitates search by helping one organize the information more effectively. Empirical and theoretical findings on search and familiarity (Alba and Hutchinson 1987; Brucks 1985; Srinivasan and Ratchford 1990) suggest that there are two distinct processes that are at work. Knowledge may limit search by allowing responses to become routine. Knowledge may also increase search by allowing consumers to have a richer understanding of what they are evaluating. One possible explanation for the differences in findings could be that experienced consumers increase search when there is relevant new information present in the environment, but limit their search in the absence of new information. As product categories mature, and the amount of usable prior knowledge increases in consumers' minds, it is possible that buyers seek less external information than consumers at the introductory stages of product categories.

In a related stream of research, Howard (1977) suggests that consumers engage in 'Extensive Problem Solving'(EPS) when faced with a radically new product class. A characteristic of EPS is substantial information requirements. Consumers require information to group a brand in the correct class of product classes, to distinguish it from the other classes, to relate values to criteria for brand choice, to determine the salience of each criterion and to locate a new brand on the various choice criteria.

Advertising and communication at the introduction stage has to provide information in clear and concrete terms. In the introductory stages of a product category, benefit-oriented information may be viewed as informational by consumers who are novices in a specific product category (Maheswaran and Sternthal 1990). As the product category becomes established, information needs decline as the consumer engages in Limited Problem Solving (LPS). Here, the communication objective is to differentiate a brand from its competition. In the example for Kodak cameras, the entry of 'me-too' products with the Kodak brand name resulted in shifting emphasis of advertising from educating consumers to building brand awareness. The communication had to focus on building brand identification and brand preference. Transformational advertising is used in order to build brand image.

The transition to routinized response behavior (RRB) occurs when consumers are familiar with nearly all the brands and brand choice is a simplified process. Under RRB, consumers become highly selective with respect to attention and search. Use of transformational elements (e.g., the spokesperson, the music) serve as attention-getting devices. Transformational advertising also helps to maintain brand distinctiveness by creating favorable attitude about the brand.

The Product Life Cycle

The change in consumer requirements and needs is simultaneous with a set of changes in the product-market scenario. These changes are embodied in the Product Life Cycle (PLC). The PLC summarizes the product-market realities in different stages (introduction, growth, maturity, and decline) as a product evolves over time. Howard (1983) has linked the changes in consumer requirements to changes in supplier behavior. He has suggested that 'customer driven firms' change their strategy to match consumer requirements at different stages in the PLC. The consumer learning perspective and the PLC literature (Porter 1985) suggests that advertising changes its basic nature moving from communicating information on the product (informational advertising) in the early stages of the PLC to building brand image through emotion, feeling and mood (transformational advertising) in the later stages. Indeed, this change from informational to transformational advertising is a typical pattern in many consumer product industries. The PLC concept suggests that transformational advertising evolves over time and gives us an opportunity to identify the processes that cause this change. Transformational advertising is comparable to other psychological descriptors applied in advertising (such as, mood, emotion, feeling and image advertising). Although the role of emotional advertising in creating brand affect is a focus area, scant research exists in the area of identifying the antecedents of such advertising.

Evolution of Advertising over the PLC

A new PLC commences when a substantial change in technology, customer function or customer group occurs that is outside the scope of all or most of the current suppliers (Day 1981). Managers change advertising messages over the Product Life Cycle in response to changing objectives in each stage of the life cycle. In the introduction stage, for example, the need to create primary demand for the new product puts emphasis on communicating product features. Here, informational advertising is likely to dominate.

When the motor car was mass marketed in the early twentieth century, the manufacturers made attempts to persuade a reluctant public to abandon the horse for the motor car. Advertising itself was at a nascent stage in this era, and manufacturers attempted to inform the public of the various features that made the motor car superior to the horse-drawn carriage. At the time, the then prevalent alternate modes of transportation, the horse and rail transport, were organized and powerful. Manufacturers had to overcome consumer resistance by a relatively long period of informational advertising.

A characteristic of the growth phase is the emergence of competition with numerous close substitutes. This calls for a differentiation strategy. Advertising stresses functional benefits that differentiate a brand from competition and remains mainly informational with some transformational elements. From 1900 onwards, motor car ads highlighted the merits of one or other of the alternative motive powers. Considerations of reliability, simplicity and comfort were main selling points. The use of motor-cars for racing made it a symbol of masculine prowess. While advertising in this period was mainly informational, it contained elements of transformational advertising such as speed, competitive prestige and excitement. By 1920, Ford's Model-T was the market leader (Goodrum and Dalrymple 1990). Ford's competitors engaged in efforts to differentiate themselves from the Model-T through advertising that appealed to consumers with specific levels of income or social class. This saw the introduction of transformational advertising for cars.

The automobile example illustrates what happens as a product moves through the growth stage into maturity stage. Lewis (1922) declares in his novel Babbit (p.74) "In the city of Zenith, in the barbarous twentieth century, a family's motor indicated its social rank as precisely as the grades of peerage determined the rank of the English family." Advertising themes stressed two aspects: (a) a planned obsolescence that involved making the car customer dissatisfied with their cars and (b) automobile symbolism.

The maturity phase of the Product Life Cycle involves intense competition, and oligopolies evolve. Consumers understand basic issues; therefore, marketers seek to differentiate the product by using advertising messages. Transformational advertising is one effective differentiation strategy. The evolution of advertising messages outlined in the motor car industry provides evidence of this. By the 1950s, cars had become personal expressions of the owner seen as mistresses, workhorses, weapons, plumes or bait for sexual conquest (Goodrum and Dalrymple 1990). While car advertising today contains elements of informational and transformational advertising, the use of transformational appeals is more common today than in the early days of car advertising.

The evolution of ad messages as described in the motor car example is typical of patterns found in many consumer product industries. We now attempt to analyze some of the evolutionary processes that underlie the change in messages from informational to transformational.


Figure 1 illustrates the factors that influence the use of transformational advertising. The criterion variable in the model is the "likelihood of transformational advertising". That is, how likely are advertisers to use transformational advertising in a product category. Some of the predictor variables have been chosen using the Product Life cycle literature. The predictors used are descriptive of the maturity stage of the life cycle. We therefore, present the model as a cross-sectional study that enables us to predict the use of transformational advertising across several product categories, depending on the product-market realities at a point in time. The level of analysis suggested is a product category. That is, we analyze the likelihood of transformational advertising being used in a product category at any point in time. Product and consumer variables include newness of the product, level of risk, product conspicuousness, product involvement and service (versus product). Market related factors or market dynamism factors include product homogeneity, price elasticity of demand, and technological stability. Some predictors of transformational advertising may include factors that are inherent characteristics of the product and some characteristics are dynamic over time. Propositions are presented in the next section.




Newness of the Product

In the case of new products, advertising has to focus on educating consumers and tends to be informational. As discussed in a preceding section, information requirements of consumers at various stages of the product life cycle vary, creating a need for varying the message content of advertising over the PLC.

In the introduction stage, consumers search for information to acquire knowledge including 'scripts'. Concept acquisition is the search process for criteria for identifying and evaluating a radically new product category (Cohen and Basu 1987). As a category becomes well formed in consumers' minds, the decision-making becomes a heuristic process. The consumers' information needs decline as they move from Extensive Problem Solving to Limited Problem Solving and to Routinized Response Behavior. The advertising has to vary to suit the information requirements of the consumer, moving from being informational in the early stages of the Product Life Cycle to being transformational in the later stages. In the Kodak example, for instance, the early ads focused on information needs of consumers. In recent times, the 'Kodak moment' ad signifies use of transformational advertising to maintain brand distinctiveness and to create favorable brand attitude. The preceding discussion of the newness of the product category suggests that the age of the product category or the time elapsed since introduction could be an indicator of whether a category is new or old. Therefore, we propose the following:

P1: Transformational (Informational) advertising is more likely to be used later (earlier) in the product life cycle rather than earlier (later). (Note: All propositions are illustrated in Fig 1.)

Level of Risk

Individuals encounter risk when a decision, action or behavior leads to different possible outcomes (Bem 1980). When an individual's action produces social and economic consequences they cannot estimate with certainty, the individual encounters risk (Zinkhan and Karande 1991). Most of the risk literature (Bauer 1960; Jacoby and Kaplan 1972) deals with five different types of risk: financial, performance, physical, psychological and social risk. Risk relates to either situations and problems (Dowling 1986) or persons' attitude to risk (Zinkhan and Karande 1991). Here, we will focus on risks that consumers associate with product categories.

Jacoby and Kaplan (1972) measure the risk involved in product categories and identify components of risk involved. Financial risk and social risk are the prime components of risk involved in purchasing a foreign sports car. Bauer (1960) suggests that information search is an important risk-handling strategy. This suggests that advertisers will emphasize informational elements in high risk product categories.

Product category risk is high in the introduction stages of the life cycle. For new products, the uncertainty associated with outcomes leads to high risk. The consumer seeks out information from a wide variety of sources including advertising (Aaker and Myers 1975). Berning and Jacoby (1974) suggest that the circumstance of reduced information affects perceived risk, which in turn, increases the information search of consumers. The need for information points to the use of informational advertising in the early stages of the life cycle (when the risk associated with the product category is high).

As product-markets evolve, brand familiarity is high, and consumers encounter established purchase alternatives. Berning and Jacoby (1974) have found that under conditions of high brand familiarity, perceived risk declines, information requirements decline, thereby suggesting that the information content in advertising may tend to decline over the PLC.

The decline in perceived risk in the later stages of the PLC creates what is analogous to the low elaboration likelihood suggested by Petty and Cacioppo (1985). Although elaboration likelihood is a situational variable, the situation of low elaboration likelihood outlined is similar to the consumer in the later stages of the PLC. This research suggests that consumers under low elaboration likelihood (due to the lower perceived risk in the later stages of the PLC), use a peripheral information processing route. In these conditions, transformational elements such as music in the ad, use of spokesperson, emotional elements are likely to be more persuasive. This suggests the use of transformational advertising under low risk conditions as encountered later in the PLC.

P2: The higher (lower) the level of risk involved in purchasing a product, the lower (higher) the likelihood of transformational (informational) advertising.

Product Conspicuousness

Product conspicuousness refers to the intended communication role played by certain consumption decisions (Belk, Bahn and Mayer 1982). Communicating through consumption choices involves decoding information about others based on their consumption behavior. From this perspective, it appears that people see possessions as a part of or an extension of themselves. A number of studies have focused on the product categories where there is a high congruence between self-image and images of the owned or desired products. These products such as automobiles, health, grooming and cleaning products, beer, leisure products and activities, clothing and accessories, food products, cigarettes are 'conspicuous' products (Belk, Bahn and Mayer 1982). For conspicuous products, the high congruence between self-images and images of owned or desired products provides opportunities for the use of transformational advertising. Transformational advertising for conspicuous products such as clothing or automobiles bestows meaning through imagery, emotion and feeling.

P3: Transformational (informational) advertising is more likely to be used with more (less) conspicuous products.

Product Involvement

Krugman (1965) defines involvement as the number of conscious, bridging experiences, connections or references per minute that the viewer makes between his own life and the stimulus. We use this definition to suggest that some products are higher involvement (e.g., perfumes, automobiles) while others are low involvement (e.g., detergent, household cleaners).

Involvement can be person-related, stimulus-related or situation-related (Zaichkowsky 1994). Involvement results from an interaction between person, stimulus, and situation. Nonetheless, there is a long tradition in marketing and consumer behavior literature to classify products as inherently high or low involvement. The literature on involvement makes a distinction between cognitive involvement and affective or ego involvement (Greenwald and Leavitt 1984; Park and Young, 1984). A large body of research explains the persuasiveness of informational cues (substantive features in advertising) under conditions of high cognitive involvement (Petty and Cacioppo 1984; Chaiken 1980). Ego-involvement (affective involvement) refers to the relationship between the issue and object and the domain of one's ego. Issue-involvement (cognitive involvement) refers to the degree to which an issue is personally relevant. Cognitive involvement refers to the extent to which a product may have important consequences for consumers or the need to form an informed opinion when consumers may expect to discuss or defend their opinions or engage in behavior congruent with their expressed opinions (Chaiken 1980).

Just as certain consumption situations or product classes can be classified as ego-involvement and cognitive-involvement we suggest that it is also possible to distinguish between ego-involvement products and cognitive-involvement products. Ego-involvement, by its nature, contributes to use of transformational advertising while cognitive involvement might contribute to use of informational advertising.

Advertising for high ego-involvement products tends to be transformational as ego-involvement products are used as symbols. Ads for such products are organized in meaningful ways to portray self-concept, actual or ideal. Emotion and images are quite prominent in perfume advertising. For high cognitive involvement products, consumers require information to arrive at decisions. Therefore, the following two-part proposition is proposed:

P4a: Transformational advertising (informational advertising) is less (more) likely to be used for high cognitive involvement products.

P4b: Transformational advertising (informational advertising) is more(less) likely to be used for high ego-involvement products.

Product versus Service

Characteristics that chiefly differentiate services from products include intangibility, simultaneity of production and consumption, heterogeneity and perishability. Intangibility is a fundamental difference between products and services. Because services are performances, consumers cannot see, feel, taste or touch services in the same manner in which consumers of goods can sense products (Zeithaml, Parasuraman and Berry 1985). Because intangibility causes problems of communicating features and benefits, service firms tend to concentrate on building brand image. Examples of service advertisers focusing on corporate image include banks, financial services firms (e.g., Merrill Lynch, American Express) and airlines (British Airways). Service advertising may tend to use more transformational advertising to give life to intangible service features. Zinkhan, Johnson and Zinkhan (1992) have found that of the three ad types (i.e., product, retail and service), service ads made the heaviest use of transformational advertising, while product ads use transformational ads the least. The authors suggest that converting an intangible service into a meaningful association may increase consumer understanding of service offering.

P5: Transformational advertising is more likely to be used with services than with products.


In dynamic markets, there is continuous product innovation, continuous entry and exit of competitors, product differentiation among competitors and price competition. Any of these activities in isolation or combination is likely to create an environment where a consumer is faced with new information about the product category. In such situations, the extent of usable prior knowledge decreases, so consumers are forced to seek information. In such situations, informational advertising is likely to be more successful. Product homogeneity, price elasticity and technological stability are each discussed in the following section as factors influencing market dynamism.

Product Homogeneity

Product homogeneity refers to the extent to which consumers perceive products as closely related substitutes of one another. In markets where such feature neutralization occurs, there is more transformational advertising. Ogilvy (1964) states that the greater the similarity between the brands (e.g., as in the case with cigarettes or whiskey), the less part that reason plays in brand selection. Organizations that build the most sharply defined personality get the largest share of the market at the highest profit. This need for product differentiation suggests that transformational advertising builds brand distinctiveness when no real product differentiation exists.

Product homogeneity is a result of competitive processes over the life cycle. At the introduction stage, the pioneering activities of firms attract competition. In this stage, where the population of firms is new, competition is likely to be indirect and diffuse because the abundance of resources (Brittain and Wholey 1988). With the entry of firms in the growth stage, competition intensifies and causes feature neutralization. In the maturity stage, there is likely to be a high level of product homogeneity.

Heath, Mccarthy and Mothersbaugh (1994) investigate the role of competition as a moderator on the effect of substantive features (or the use of informational advertising). The results suggest that when brands are relatively homogenous, the influence of non-substantive features was significant. Non-substantive features including spokesperson character, music in the ad contribute to transformational advertising. Aaker and Myers (1975) propose that as long as a brand, regardless of the complexity of the product involved, has what amount to closely competing substitutes, the possibilities of distinguishing on purely functional grounds is reduced. This also suggests that increased product homogeneity increases use of transformational advertising.

P6: The higher (lower) the product homogeneity in the market, the higher the likelihood of transformational (informational) advertising.

Price Elasticity of Demand

Price elasticity indicates how sensitive to price consumers in a particular market are. This is important because markets with a highly elastic demand are driven by price rather than imagery. This suggests the use of informational advertising in highly price elastic markets where advertising mainly stresses price positioning.

Tellis (1988) suggests that under assumptions of rational and reasonably informed consumers, price elasticity should be negative. Nonetheless, price elasticity varies from product category to product category. Pharmaceutical products, for example, exhibit less price sensitivity or less negative price elasticity because they are high risk products, often purchased in an emergency or on a prescription.

Tellis (1988) found evidence that price elasticity increases over the life cycle. In markets where the price sensitivity is relatively high so as to become the primary decision-making variable, advertising remains primarily functional or informational. Comparative informational advertising (which stresses the price) is likely to dominate.

P7: The higher the price elasticity of demand, the lower(higher) the likelihood of transformational (informational) advertising.

Technological Stability

Most research on how technology evolves in an industry has grown out of the PLC concept. Early in the product life cycle, product innovation is largely driven by technology. Later in the life cycle, innovations are more process driven (e.g., resulting from refinements in the distribution process). After a certain stage in the life cycle, the technology stabilizes and a dominant design emerges. Growing scale makes mass production feasible, re-inforced by the growing product standardization. Technological diffusion eliminates product differences and compels process innovations by firms to remain cost competitive. In some industries with undifferentiated products, a dominant design emerges quickly. In others, technology is the differentiating tool.

The role of technology in advertising is relevant as it influences the ability of firms to differentiate products. In technologically turbulent markets, advertising tends to be highly informational stressing technical features or superiority of products. In a market that is technologically stable, transformational advertising is more likely. From the consumers' perspective, in markets where the technology is changing rapidly, there is new information about the technological innovations in the product that may be required to re-evaluate consumers' buying decisions. Here, informational advertising may be required to match the consumers' search for new information relevant to the technological changes. This leads to the proposition that:

P8: A technologically stable environment increases the likelihood of transformational advertising.


The proposed model is presented in Figure 1. The propositions summarize the conditions that influence the use or likelihood of transformational advertising. The predictor variables are broadly sub-divided as product characteristics and market characteristics. The model could be tested through a cross-sectional study with product category serving as the unit of analysis.

Proposed Method of Testing

Content analysis of print and TV ads could be used to test the proposed model. The dependent variable "likelihood of transformational advertising" can be coded using the Puto and Wells (1984) scale as a basis. It is recognized that the Puto and Wells (1984) scale is a preliminary scale. Some refinement of the scale may be required in order to make it reliable and valid.

Coders can be trained to rate commercials as informational, transformational or neither. In a similar study, Zinkhan, Johnson, and Zinkhan (1992) used a similar procedure where by coding a large number of ads within a product category, it was possible to estimate the percentage of ads within that category that use transformational advertising. A percentage measure could serve as input to measurement of the dependent variable "likelihood of transformational advertising".

Technological stability could be measured by studying the number of technological innovations in a year in a product category and comparing across categories. Judges could be trained to classify a product offering as being either 'mainly product' or 'mainly service'. The chronological age of the product category could be used as a surrogate measure for the newness of the product category.

A consumer survey would be required to measure product conspicuousness, product involvement and level of risk. We make a distinction between cognitive involvement and ego involvement products. The former could be operationalized through a modified version of Buchanan's (1964) measure of product interest. A measure of ego-involvement could be obtained with Slama and Tashchian's (1987) Enduring Involvement scale. A suitable scale for product conspicuousness is not readily available. Prior studies on conspicuousness (Hong and Zinkhan 1995; Dolich 1969) have manipulated conspicuousness as a variable but have not directly proposed a scale to measure it. A suitable scale to measure this construct across product categories could be adapted from the product interest scale proposed by Dolich (1969). Risk can be measured along the lines of the scale proposed by Jacoby and Kaplan (1972). In all instances, the output from the consumer surveys would provide product category scores, thus preserving the product category as the unit of analysis.


Transformational advertising plays an important role in creating brand differentiation. When manufacturing parity among competitors has been reached, or when features and benefits of the product offering are well understood by consumers, benefit-based (informational) advertising emphasizes category promotion rather than brand promotion. In such situations, organizations may use transformational advertising as a means to attaining a competitive edge. Advertising thus creates value in products by the nature of emotional associations that are conveyed. Products become representative of goals attained or desired role performances. The role of transformational advertising in creating brand equity is also a potential area for future research.

As consumer behavior researchers, we are beginning to realize that it is important to understand consumer trends over a period of time. For example, there is a group of published studies that examine how consumer values (e.g., materialism) change through the decades. In this paper, we create a framework to explain how advertising styles evolve, depending upon certain consumer characteristics and certain market characteristics. At present, there is an unresolved issue about the relationship between consumer values and advertising trends. It may be that advertising reflects consumer values (as advertisers and their agencies follow the marketing concept). However, it may also be the case that advertising trends lead or lag changes in consumer tastes and behavior. At present, there is an unresolved issue about the relationship between consumer values and advertising trends (Zinkhan and Shermohamed 1986). However, it may be that advertising bears no relationship whatsoever to consumer behavior. The model developed in this paper provides a useful framework for thinking about these important issues in consumer behavior research. Advertising is, perhaps, the most salient aspect of marketing management (as perceived by consumers); and it is important to understand how advertising styles and methods evolve and change over time.


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Vanitha Swaminathan, University of Georgia
George M. Zinkhan, University of Georgia
Srinivas K. Reddy, University of Georgia


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 23 | 1996

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