Positive Mood and Susceptibility to False Advertising

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This paper examines the impact of mood on consumers' implicit and explicit responses to false advertising. In our first experiment, we find that those consumers in a positive (versus a negative or neutral) mood state are more likely to notice the false information in the advertising, but paradoxically, are also likely to develop positive feelings toward the brand. In that experiment, we used both a hedonic brand (Disney) and a hedonic/emotional ad (autobiographical). In our second experiment, we extend the ad stimulus context beyond Disney to Wendy's to more readily facilitate autobiographical versus informational manipulations. We find that, indeed, the hedonic advertising execution (autobiographical vis-a-vis informational) is associated with more elaborate processing (but only for those in a positive mood). The observed positive affect transfer continued, however, despite the greater detection of the false information in the positive mood condition. We propose that the negative feelings toward the ad associated with detecting the false information are momentary and are replaced by positive feelings toward the brand that are engendered by positive mood and the advertising, as suggested by the synapse model of memory. Our third experiment varies the timing of our measures to investigate this proposition and finds that timing does matter. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the findings for research on mood, deceptive advertising, and implicit versus explicit effects of advertising response.
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false advertising; impact analysis; consumer response; hedonic advertising; mood state
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Required Publisher Statement: © Taylor & Francis. Final version published as: LaTour, M. S., & LaTour, K. A. (2009). Positive mood and susceptibility to false advertising. Journal of Advertising, 38(3), 127-142. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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