Measuring consumer advertising deception
Brison, Natasha Teericoach
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The aim of this study was to further both the theoretical conceptualization and the empirical validation of a consumer advertising deception research model. Conceptually, it builds a consumer advertising deception model based on the Federal Trade Commission’s elements for determining deception: representation, likelihood to mislead, cognitive materiality, affective materiality, and behavioral materiality. Empirically, the model confirms that partial least squares path modeling can be used to estimate the parameters of the effects in this newly defined nomological network. Using both print and social media advertisements, participants were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk survey platform. Participants were randomized into either a print or Facebook group for the purposes of this study. The results show that representation has a positive and statistically significant effect on likelihood to mislead, cognitive materiality, affective materiality, and behavioral materiality. It also confirms that likelihood to mislead partially mediates the relationship between representation and cognitive materiality, representation and affective materiality, and representation and behavioral materiality. The results also revealed that regulators need to continue to be vigilant regarding deceptive advertisements. If consumers are exposed to deceptive advertisements where the likelihood to mislead is great, the study indicates that the advertisement can affect not only their purchase intentions regarding the brand but also their brand knowledge and attitude toward the brand. Research has corroborated that each of these factors can affect actual purchase behavior (Bagozzi & Warshaw, 1992; Ehrenberg & Goodhardt, 1989; Chandon, Morwitz, & Reinartz, 2005). The study concludes by discussing theoretical, practical, and regulatory implications, limitations, and the direction of future research.