chapter  Chapter 2
35 Pages

How consumers acquire and process information from advertising

ByBob M. Fennis, Wolfgang Stroebe

In Chapter 2 we discuss research on processes that play a role when consumers acquire and process information from advertising. We highlight that these processes range from unconscious, low effort and automatic, to deliberative, conscious and effortful and we discuss four stages: preattentive analysis, focal attention, comprehension and elaborative reasoning. Preattentive analysis involves a general, non-goal-directed, ‘surveillance’ of the environment and captures processes by which incidental exposure to advertising can affect consumer memory and evaluations. Focal attention is the process by which information is brought into working memory where it is identified and categorized and is triggered by advertising salience, vividness and novelty. We also discuss research on various processes and factors involved in how consumers categorize information from advertising, i.e. brand extensions, the ‘pioneering advantage’ assimilation and contrast and impression formation. In reviewing work on comprehension, we focus on how consumers form semantic inferences from advertising and discuss the so called ‘truth effect’. Finally, research on elaborative reasoning is discussed, which captures the extent, valence and object of thinking in response to advertising exposure. Here we also review the role of self-schemata and consumer meta-cognition in elaborative reasoning.