The following is the introductory material from research I completed with a group in my consumer behavior course. The study was titled "Hovering Above the Fast Forward Button: Exposure Control and Pleasant Advertisments."
Our research team looks at the theory pertaining to exposure control. By examining exposure control coupled with persuasion, we have created a truly unique and simple study. While examining exposure control and pleasantness, we arrived at the hypothesis that exposure control may be less likely for more pleasant advertisements while at the same time are more likely to persuade.
Our methods consisted of a control group and a test group. Each group was presented with a series of four advertisements. The control group watched the television commercials twice, straight through. The test group had the ability to fast forward through any and/or all commercials while watching the reel a second time. This manipulation and control allowed for out methods to be simple yet yield data that could be easily analyzed. Test subjects were college aged students and were randomly assigned to groups. The television commercials were determined prior to the experiment to represent a mix of pleasant and unpleasant advertisements.
Our hypotheses were confirmed in three out of four cases. From this we are able to conclude that advertisements that are more pleasant will not be as prone to exposure control, thus increasing their persuasion.
Background Theory and Hypothesis Development
The purpose of this research is to test the hypothesis that exposure control is less likely for pleasant ads. We will define pleasant as ads that people find likable and enjoyable. This research strikes a cord with all of those in business. Exposure control, whether present in pleasant or unpleasant ads, is a problem that advertisers and communicators must overcome. To be retained, their message must be heard, seen or witnessed. This research is relevant in the scope of college students and their television commercial habits. Areas for further study are discussed in greater detail later in this document.
According to the text and studies done by Batra & Stayman in 1990, Brown, Homer & Inman in 1998, MacKenzie, Lutz & Belch in 1986 and Mitchell & Olson in 1981, pleasant ads are more persuasive than neutral or unpleasant ads. These researchers accept that the cause of this finding is that positive feelings toward the ad transfer to the product. Wilson’s research suggests a different explanation and that is what our research examines (Kardes, 138). Additional research also helped to form our hypotheses: “Greenwald and Leavitt (1984) suggest that highly involved viewers are likely to engage in greater message elaboration and critical evaluation of advertisement and to experience less effective response” (Brown, 116). Our research attempts to look at the gaps in these theories, the aspects that other scholars have stated should be examined.