Advertising's influence on socio-cultural brand associations: A developmental and social information processing approach
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractSocio-cultural brand associations (e.g., brand personality) often drive the preferences and choices of consumers. While previous research suggests that the people and social situations represented in advertisements play an important role in shaping consumers' socio-cultural brand associations, extant theorizing offers little insight into the specific mental mechanisms involved in producing such outcomes. In attempting to address this important shortcoming, my dissertation develops a new conceptual framework for investigating social information processing, the Controlled-Automatic Meaning (or CAM) Model. This model casts social information in a central role, giving primary emphasis to the mental processes through which consumers draw socio-cultural meanings from the social cues used in advertising. Two studies aimed at providing an initial assessment of the CAM Model are reported. The first study utilizes conservative methodology to provide a strict test of the model's processing specifications, and unfortunately fails to provide evidence that preconscious exposure to social imagery impacts adult consumers' socio-cultural brand associations in the manner outlined by the model. The second study provides a more successful examination of the model's utility in predicting how children and adults process the social meanings contained in television advertising when the ads are seen under normal, marketplace viewing conditions. Results from the study provide compelling evidence of the model's utility in predicting and explaining developmental changes in consumers' processing of gender meanings represented in advertising. The second study's outcomes also suggest several promising directions for future research involving the CAM Model.
Degree ProgramGraduate College