Is the Purpose of Advertising to Create Cognitive Dissonance?

1765 Words Aug 3rd, 2002 8 Pages
Advertising deals with people's feelings and emotions. It includes understanding of the psychology of the buyer, his motives, attitudes, as well as the influences on him such as his family and reference groups, social class and culture. In order to increase the advertisements persuasiveness, advertisers use many types of extensions of behavioral sciences to marketing and buying behavior. One such extension is the theory of cognitive dissonance. The purpose of advertising can be to create a cognitive dissonance to generate a favorable response from the buyer toward a product or a concept. The purpose of advertising
The purpose of advertising is simply to sell a product or a service. In social contexts ads have many other
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One of the applications of the theory of cognitive dissonance is the fear appeal. Despite the controversy on the subject, fear is an effective advertising appeal often used in marketing communications (15 per cent of all television ads) because consumers seem to remember ads which use fear appeals better than they remember ads using no emotional appeal. Advertisers thought a few years ago that the more the fear was important; the more the desire to fight this fear was important, which led them to the conclusion that the effectiveness of the advertising message was proportional to the level of fear aroused. But some researchers have found that strong fear appeals tend to be less effective than moderate messages. Apparently, the relation between the fear and the effectiveness of the advertisement resembles an inverted U-shaped curve. If the level of fear is too important, it can provoke in the consumer mind a defense mechanism. This process can lead to avoid the advertising message, to deny the threat, or to choose or distort the message. Consumer's attitude toward an ad are important to advertisers because people who dislike an ad are likely to resist its effort to increase the favorability of their attitudes toward the product itself. If the consumer thinks a specific advertising practice is unethical or immoral, a number of unwanted outcomes can appeared in the consumer's mind, ranging from consumer indifference toward the advertising product

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