Matching the advertising creative strategy to the thinking mode: the moderating effect of product type on the effectiveness of imagery-evoking advertising tactics
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Many researchers have emphasized the importance and promise of imagery evoking in enhancing advertising effectiveness. They also provided practical guidelines about what kinds of message elements can be used to evoke imagery in the advertising context. These message elements can be called imagery-evoking advertising tactics and include concrete pictures, concrete verbal descriptions, and instructions to imagine. However, empirical findings about the effectiveness of these imagery-evoking tactics in enhancing consumers’ favorable attitudes have been conflicting. This study proposes that consumers’ thinking mode should be considered as a key factor which influences the effectiveness of imagery-evoking advertising tactics. Furthermore, this study suggests that product type may be an important variable that affects consumers’ propensity to adopt an experiential or a rational thinking mode in the advertising context. Therefore, the goal of this study is twofold. First, this study aims to empirically confirm that product type may be a key factor which influences consumers’ thinking mode. Second, this study is intended to examine the impact of product type on the effectiveness of imagery-evoking advertising tactics. Given these goals, this study makes the distinctions between (i) search and experience products, and (ii) immediate and delayed consumption products. The findings in this study indicate that product type influences the intensity of using the experiential thinking mode, which includes the use of preconsumption imagery and does not require analytic processes. Also, the findings of this study indicate that the effectiveness of imagery-evoking advertising tactics in inducing mental imagery and enhancing consumers’ favorable attitudes is different depending on product type. This study extends our theoretical understanding of the process of imagery-evoking tactics by identifying consumers’ thinking mode as the psychological mechanism which may explain the variations in the effectiveness of imagery-evoking advertising tactics. Also, by identifying product type as a major factor which influences consumers’ thinking mode, the findings from this study offer guidelines for the strategic use of imagery-evoking advertising tactics.