Making warnings about misleading advertising and product recalls more effective: An implicit attitude perspective

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Journal of Marketing Research


© 2018, American Marketing Association. The authors tested whether image-based information is more effective than text in changing implicit attitudes from positive to negative, even when both forms similarly change explicit attitudes. They studied corrective information (i.e., warnings about misleading advertising and product recall notices) because it is a common, important effort to change consumer attitudes. Corrective information in the form of pictures or imagery-evoking text, as well as direct instructions to imagine the scene, changed implicit attitudes more than plain, descriptive text, which is currently the most common warning method. Image-based stimuli can change implicit attitudes because they evoke vivid visual mental imagery of counterattitudinal valence (Experiments 1-2). Conditions that hindered the formation of visual mental imagery blocked implicit attitude change, whereas cognitive busyness did not (Experiment 3). In short, imagerybased information changed both explicit and implicit attitudes, whereas materials not based on imagery changed only explicit attitudes. Managers and regulators who aim to protect consumers from claims and products that could do harm should use image-based campaigns to best convey the message effectively.

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