A lot of people watch political debates on TV. Which means great opportunities for advertisers. But an ad for an island getaway or exotic cuisine will only sound appealing if the viewer agrees with the candidate they are watching. That’s according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. [Alison Jing Xu and Robert S. Wyer, Jr., "The Role of Bolstering and Counterarguing Mind-Sets in Persuasion"]
Two-hundred-sixty-five people were exposed to forms of persuasive communication and then asked to rate advertisements for vacation spots, cars or food.
In one experiment, participants either viewed a debate between two political candidates or watched one politician speak about economics. Study subjects with a preference for one candidate reported negative reactions while watching the speaker they opposed. And political independents developed negative feelings while they watched the debate.
And the study found that such negative feelings decreased a subject’s opinion of a subsequent ad.
The research provides insight into how our cognitive responses to an ad can be influenced by the context in which a viewer experienced the ad. So even though an advertisement may look good, it’s like a gemstone: the setting counts.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]