Article

The isolation effect and advertising: Are unusual advertisements remembered better?

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Abstract

The isolation effect is the finding that memory is improved for items that are distinctive. The isolation effect has led advertisers to suggest that their advertisements should be designed to "stand out" from other advertisements. The current study examined semantic and physical isolation effects for print advertisements. Participants viewed a slideshow containing four advertisements for trashcans. Each advertisement contained a different brand name and feature for the trashcan pictured in the advertisement. In Experiment 1, one of the four advertisements included a product feature rated as highly distinctive (semantic isolate) relative to the product features appearing in the other advertisements. The isolated advertisement in Experiment 2 included a product feature of a different font size and color (physical isolate) than the product features appearing in the other advertisements. Participants were tested on the brand names and features from the advertisements. Unlike previous experiments on isolation effects in advertising, participants were required to remember which feature was presented with which brand. Participants demonstrated an isolation effect, with better recall of the features from the distinctive advertisements than the regular advertisements. This benefit, however, did not reliably extend to memory for the brand names associated with the isolate. These findings demonstrate that the robust nature of the isolation effect is not limited to laboratory settings; rather, the effect is more generalizable and occurs in real-world situations as well.

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... While the language used does not have to be very technical or specialized, it is observed that unique information (e.g., live chat, live shop, investments in gold, personalized names) attracts attention and is retained to a greater extent, indicating that presenting information in unexpected ways makes it more probable to be visualized and easier to be memorized. This is not surprising, as the literature gives credit to unique and unexpected forms of presentation for being able to be memorized for a longer period of time [138,139]. ...
... While th language used does not have to be very technical or specialized, it is observed tha unique information (e.g., live chat, live shop, investments in gold, personalize names) attracts attention and is retained to a greater extent, indicating that presen ing information in unexpected ways makes it more probable to be visualized an easier to be memorized. This is not surprising, as the literature gives credit to uniqu and unexpected forms of presentation for being able to be memorized for a longe period of time [138,139]. ...
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In 3 experiments, kindergarten and second-grade children's retention was examined in the context of 2 distinctiveness manipulations, namely, the von Restorff and bizarre imagery paradigms. Specifically, children learned lists of pictures (Experiments 1a and 1b) or interactive images (Experiment 2) and were asked to recall them 3 weeks later. In Experiments 1a and 1b, distinctiveness was manipulated perceptually (changing colors) and conceptually (changing categories or switching to a numeral), whereas in Experiment 2, distinctiveness concerned the interaction (common or bizarre) between the referents. The results showed that (a) older children retained more information than younger children, (b) younger but not older children failed to benefit from numerically distinct information, and (c) distinctiveness in other domains facilitated children's retention. These results highlight the importance of distinctive information in children's retention.