Impact of Controversial Advertising on an Individual's Intent to Purchase
Gupta, Prachi (2013) Impact of Controversial Advertising on an Individual's Intent to Purchase. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)
Advertisements that cause offense and shock also known as controversial advertisements are widely being accepted as another paradigm of marketing amongst firms across the world. It would seem to imply that these advertisements also achieve the key marketing objectives of attracting and converting customers. The main purpose of this research was to ascertain whether controversial advertisements were more effective than conventional advertisements. The method of research included both theoretical study and an empirical survey. Three hypotheses were formulated based on theoretical studies. First it was ascertained that the more controversial advertising achieved congruence with self-identity the more effective it was. The second hypothesis was that the more controversial advertising achieved congruence with the ideal or social identities of customers the more effective it was. The third hypotheses was that controversial advertisements were more effective than conventional advertising. From the results of the empirical survey conducted on a set of ten students from Nottingham University it was found that though controversial advertising did achieve dissonance from the self-identities of the majority of the students, this did not translate into a negative intent to purchase. Thus the first hypothesis was invalidated. It was also found that all the respondents indicated dissatisfaction with their self-identities on being exposed to some aspirational though controversial Calvin Klein advertisements. This dissatisfaction translated into a positive intent to purchase. Thus the second hypothesis was validated. The results of the analysis also indicated that controversial advertisements were more effective than conventional advertising in that they succeeded in impinging on customer memory and consciousness. However, in terms of translating into a positive intent to purchase, there was found to be a limit. Wherever controversial advertising trespassed on forbidden, very sensitive or taboo topics, there was a negative intent to purchase. Such topics concerned women, children and racial prejudice. These findings have important implications for marketers as well, all of which are also discussed.
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