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The Waste in Advertising Is the Part That Works

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Abstract

This study shows that waste the perceived extravagance of an advertisement contributes to advertising effectiveness by increasing credibility. It draws especially on the Handicap Principle in biology: animals use wasteful characteristics to signal their exceptional biological fitness. It hypothesizes that excesses in advertising work in a similar way by signaling brand fitness. TV advertisements were evaluated online for perceived advertising expense, message, brand familiarity, quality, reliability, and likelihood of choosing. High perceived advertising expense enhances an advertisement s persuasiveness significantly, but largely indirectly, by strengthening perceptions of brand quality.
... In this article, the current authors suggest that brands' use of nonstereotyped occupational gender-role portrayals in their advertisements will evoke similar reactions as when brands use, for example, creative or expensive advertising. Both creative and expensive advertising signal perceived brand effort (Ambler and Hollier, 2004;Dahlen et al., 2008;Modig et al., 2014). That is, the higher the perceived level of creativity is or the more expensive the advertisement is perceived to be, the more effort the brand is thought to have put behind the advertisement. ...
... That is, the higher the perceived level of creativity is or the more expensive the advertisement is perceived to be, the more effort the brand is thought to have put behind the advertisement. The reasoning goes that the brand would not have put the extra effort in unless it were worth it, because the brand would not have invested time and resources that could not be offset by revenues following the advertising campaign (Ambler and Hollier, 2004;Dahlen et al., 2008;Kirmani, 1997;Kirmani and Wright, 1989). ...
... Advertisers that are perceived to have invested more effort than usual in their advertising also are perceived to have higher brand ability (Dahlén et al., 2008(Dahlén et al., , 2018. On the basis of the perceived brand effort (stemming from, e.g., a highly creative advertisement), consumers likely will infer that the brand is smarter and more innovative and thus likely will put this ability to use not only to produce creative advertisements but also to create better, higher quality products (Ambler and Hollier, 2004;Dahlén et al., 2008;Kirmani and Rao, 2000;Kirmani and Wright, 1989). It thus seems plausible that the inclusion of nonstereotyped occupational gender-role portrayals in advertisements will signal not only brand effort but also brand ability. ...
Article
Stereotyped occupational gender-role portrayals still are used frequently in advertising. Despite this, no previous research has examined their effects. Tentative findings from the advertising industry and some recent research suggest that other types of nonstereotyped gender-role portrayals in advertising can have a number of positive effects. This article corroborates these findings in three empirical studies that demonstrate the positive brand-related and social effects of nonstereotyped occupational gender-role portrayals in advertising on respondents, regardless of their gender. The findings also reveal that the positive effects of nonstereotyped occupational gender-role portrayals can be explained by signaling mechanisms. This article thus contributes to the literature on stereotyped gender-role portrayals as well as to the wider application of signaling theory and the growing research interest in how social and brand-related effects are connected.
... Whereas advertising expense has proven to function as a signal by way of the perceived costs of reproducing advertisements, in terms of advertisement size (Kirmani, 1990), advertisement repetition (Kirmani, 1997), or reproduction quality (Ambler and Hollier, 2004), research also has found that the advertising message in itself can function as a signal. Studies of advertising creativity have shown that a more-versus less-creative message signals to consumers that the brand is willing to put greater effort into its products (Dahlen et al., 2008;Modig et al., 2014). ...
... The logic is that if the brand devotes more resources, time, and thought, it will make better products. This resonates with the advertising-signal literature, which has found that both advertising expense (Ambler and Hollier, 2004;Modig et al., 2014) and advertising creativity (Dahlen et al., 2008) increase consumerperceived product quality, by way of consumers' perceptions of the brand's effort. Thus: ...
... For example, sophisticated production techniques signal to consumers that the associated advertising is expensive. This leads consumers to surmise that the company in question is more confident in the products it promotes (as the company would not devote so many resources otherwise) and that the company's products are therefore of higher quality (Ambler and Hollier 2004). Believing in the high quality of brands and products that they partner with, influencers signal an unobservable quality to followers. ...
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... Finally, for communication strategies and advertising campaigns, consumer neuroscience research promises to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of different tools (offline or online). Companies spend vast amounts on advertising, yet an estimated 26% of marketing budgets are allocated inefficiently and ineffectively (Ambler and Hollier 2004). Neuroscientific insights and methods might impose some initial costs, but ultimately they could specify the effects of various advertising campaigns in the brain (Deppe et al. 2005aKenning et al. 2007c). ...
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