Information processing style, advertising message strategy, and product type: a test of the mathcing effect hypothesis
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Advertising effectiveness can be evaluated by consumers’ attitudinal responses based on the argument that attitude is an overall evaluation of a given object that can guide behavior. Attitude can be analyzed along two dimensions affect and cognition. This structure can also be applied to classify advertising message appeals, individual tendencies, and product characteristics. Because, much prior research concerning advertising message effects in terms of affective/cognitive responses shows inconsistent results, this study investigated affective/cognitive advertising effects generated by a match of advertising messages to information processing styles and/or to product types. The present study provides a broader scope for exploring affective/cognitive matching effects involving three pivotal factorsadvertising messages, information processing styles, and product types and offers a more detailed approach based on consideration of interaction effects between affect and cognition. Advertising message strategy was classified into three appeals (informational, dual, and transformational ads); information processing style was categorized into four types (thinking, combination, feeling, and passive processors); and product type classified into three categories(think, combination, and feel products). From pretests, three products a laser printer, an mp3 player, and a swimsuit were selected and nine print advertisements (three for each product type) were created for the present study. An experiment involving 347 undergraduate students was employed to address nine hypotheses and two research questions. The results suggest that there was no three-way affective/cognitive matching or mismatching effect among advertising message strategy, information processing style, and product type. For a match between advertising appeal and product type, a matching effect was found when advertising appeal matched product type. That is, the advertising messages were most effective when the informational advertisement was matched to the think product and when the transformational advertisement was matched to the feel product. For a match of advertising appeal to information processing style, no consistent matching effect was found. Instead, transformational advertisements generated the most positive advertising message effects across information processing styles. For passive processors, both a match of the informational advertisement to the think product and a match of the transformational advertisement to the feel product were more effective than a mismatch strategy for each. Implications of the findings for affective/cognitive matching effects are discussed and limitations and suggestions for future research are presented. Index words: Advertising effectiveness, Matching effect, Information processing, Message strategy, Product type, Affect and cognition.