Chu, Y.M. and Nair, E., National University of Singapore, Singapore
Three online banner advertisements were pilot-tested as representative of three distinct persuasion strategies commonly found in advertising: soft- sell, hard-sell and informational influence. The stimuli were randomly presented at varying exposure rates of three, five and seven repetitions, to 62 male and 73 female undergraduates. Respondents evaluated website layouts in a diversionary task as the stimuli were exposed, then ranked how much they liked each advertisement, how willing they were to purchase the services offered, and how well they recalled the brands presented. A correlation matrix indicated that respondents' favourable attitudes to the stimuli featuring the soft-sell strategy were negatively associated with purchase intent and liking of the informational and hard-sell approach. Respondents persuaded by the hard-sell strategy to buy were significantly opposed to informational influence to buy. Means of purchase intent and positive regard indicated that the informational approach wore-out almost immediately upon recognition. Its gradual wear-out curve trailing to a fairly low baseline indicated respondents' indifference by three repeated exposures. The hard-sell strategy wore-out rapidly after five repetitions, indicating psychological reactance after some processing. Advertising wear- out was however not detected in response to the soft-sell strategy, even after seven repetitions. A functional model prescribes how other content strategies may employ exposure rates optimally, with potential applications in consumer marketing. Respondents' weak prompted recall of brand names even after seven repetitions demonstrates a weak memory trace. The findings suggest implications for repetition levels in branding advertisements.