Reading scents - The effect of written scent references in advertisements

Breulmann, Svenja (2013) Reading scents - The effect of written scent references in advertisements.

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Abstract:Olfactory cues in advertisements have been shown to increase memory for product information and to evoke positive emotions and attitudes. Yet including a real scent is not always feasible and it has been suggested that appealing to the olfactory sense by other cues could produce similar effects. Therefore, the current research investigated the effect of written scent references in advertising on memory, affective response, attitude towards the ad and attitude towards the brand. The Elaboration Likelihood Model suggests that the reaction to advertising cues depends on the level of motivation with which a person evaluates the information in the advertisement. For this reason, we expected that in the high motivation to process condition the written scent reference would have a positive effect if it is relevant for the advertised product (e.g. scent is the primary product attribute) and a negative effect if it is not relevant for the product (e.g. scent is an unimportant product attribute). In the low motivation to process condition we assumed that the written scent reference would have a positive effect independent of the type of product that is being advertised. In a pretest, soap and pen were selected to represent products with scent as a relevant and irrelevant product attribute. In the main study (N = 197) participants’ level of motivation to process was manipulated and subsequently they were exposed to different advertisements for fictive brands. Contrary to our expectations, no effect on memory was observed. Also, in the high motivation to process condition the written scent reference had no significant effect. However, in line with our expectations, in the low motivation to process condition, the written scent reference had a positive influence on the dependent variables for both products. It was concluded that a written scent reference is only effective when no conscious evaluation of the ad takes place and in this condition it could function as a peripheral cue. For advertisers, appealing to the sense of smell by a written scent reference could be a possibility to include scents in advertisements where including an actual scent would be impossible. Moreover, nowadays consumers barely pay attention to advertisements but a written scent reference could still be a way to influence affective responses and attitudes even in a cluttered advertising environment without getting the consumers’ full attention.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63509
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