Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program/Concentration

Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

John B. Ford

Committee Member

Edward Markowski

Committee Member

Yuping Liu-Thompkins

Committee Member

Leona Tam

Abstract

This research examines the relative effectiveness of different kinds of comparative advertising. The effects of direct and indirect advertising are discussed and empirically tested. Extant research focuses on the differential effects of comparative and non-comparative advertising. However, with the growing popularity of comparative advertising in recent years, it becomes crucial to examine different kinds of comparative advertisements more closely to provide guidelines to marketing managers in the application of comparative advertising. In the marketing literature, very little has been known about how advertising-specific moderators may influence the effectiveness of direct and indirect comparative advertising. In this dissertation, different advertising-specific moderators are investigated using theoretical support drawn from the literature and marketing theories. The purpose of this research is to develop and empirically examine a variety of hypotheses regarding variables that can potentially moderate the effectiveness of direct versus indirect comparative advertising.

Using four experimental studies, this research investigates four moderating variables on the effectiveness of direct versus indirect comparative advertisement: advertising valence, attribute typicality, attribute alignability, and message claim type. All four studies use a 2 (advertising directness, manipulated) x 2 (advertising valence, attribute typicality, attribute alignability or message claim type, all manipulated) between-subject design. In Study 1, it is demonstrated that indirect comparative advertisements generate more positive attitude towards the brand if the advertisements are positively-worded while there is no difference between the effectiveness of direct and indirect comparative advertisements if the advertisements are negatively-worded. In Study 2, it is shown that direct comparative advertisements generate more positive attitude towards the brand than indirect comparative advertisements, when the attributed featured in the advertisement was considered typical by consumers.

In Study 3, it is demonstrated that when the comparative advertisement features nonalignable differences, indirect comparative advertisements generate more positive consumer responses than direct comparative advertisements. Finally, in Study 4, the results indicate that direct comparative advertisements generate more positive consumer responses than indirect comparative advertisements when the comparative advertisement contains factual claims. When the comparative advertisement contains narrative claims, indirect comparative advertisements generate more positive consumer responses than direct comparative advertisements.

These four studies have provided evidence how different advertising characteristics influence the effects of direct versus indirect comparative advertisement on consumer responses and offering marketing managers crucial information when and how different types of comparative advertisements should be utilized. Based on the findings, managerial implications and future research directions are also discussed.

DOI

10.25777/vth3-jg97

ISBN

9781321301946

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