Sunday, December 16, 2012

Children's deep processing of commercial messages

Together with Heidi Vandebosch (Antwerp University) I did a series of studies trying to demonstrate that children (6 years old) are not the mere peripheral processors they are often considered to be. In fact, the processing of persuasive messages by these children could be as profound as adults' processing. This has strong implications with regard to the type of attitude change to be expected. Rather than being superficial and short-term, this insight suggests children are strongly influenced with possibly long-term consequences.

One possible reason why, in the past, many have considered children to be rather superficial in their processing of persuasive messages is that they are targeted with cues adults easily identify as persuasive tools (e.g. cartoon character endorsements, jingles, colorful images). However, these cues do not necessarily differ on a theoretical level from the cues that have effects among adults (such as visual imagery to convey product features, adult celebrity endorsements, humor, etcetera).

To learn more about our studies, please take a look at the slidedeck that was presented at the CTC2012 conference in Milan:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Consumers’ expected quality of high discount daily deal services

Below is a guest post by Sanne Meussen, who studied consumer responses to daily deal websites in her master's thesis (which I supervised). Apart from the to-be-expected preference for higher discounts on such websites, she also found some evidence that there is a hidden danger to these high discounts...

Even though Groupon has lost $10 billion of its market value in less than one year, the number of subscribers is still growing. Apparently, consumers are still interested in high discount deals on daily deal websites. Why wouldn’t they, if they can eat a first-class meal at a local restaurant with a 75% discount? Groupon even points out: ‘we want each Groupon purchase to feel too good to be true’.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fear appeal in health campaigns - smoking

Yesterday, I was on Belgian national television for the popular science show "Ook Getest op Mensen". Each episode, they try to tackle a few behavioral questions using quasi-scientific methodology. This week's episode, among others, focused on public health campaigns and sigarette packaging using visual and extreme fear appeals. As others have already claimed, those extreme fear appeals do not always result in adaptive consequences (see Witte & Allen, 2000). If not accompanied by easy to achieve goals or action plans or if they do not bolster self-efficacy, such fear appeals may result in maladaptive behaviors. The rationale is that fear appeals increase negative emotions and to reduce these negative emotions, we will do something maladaptive like avoiding the message or minimizing it. The real-life study we did produced some nice anecdotical insights.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Decrease in "showrooming" - An issue for FMCGs

Last week, @GinoVanOssel published an interesting post on the topic of showrooming. Brick-and-mortar retailers for high involvement goods face an interesting challenge from online retailers. Potential customers increasingly tend to visit showrooms to check out the products and then start searching online for the best bargain on their preferred product. So, the brick-and-mortar retailers invest in showrooms and staff, yet the online retailers get the the deal. This topic is often discussed, but less attention goes to a complementary issue in the low involvement category of FMCGs. With the steadily rising popularity of online grocery shopping and accompanying shopping apps, the producers of FMCGs are missing out on valuable marketing communications precisely because of the decrease of showrooming.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Food advertising and pledging not to target children

I wrote a commentary on the topic, following the Belgian Pledge of main food advertisers not to target children under 12 anymore. The commentary appeared on the blog of the KU Leuven Institute for Media Studies [in Dutch]:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Food plating preferences and academic peer review

I recently wrote a letter to the editor of Acta Paediatrica, commenting on an earlier published article. That original article investigated an interesting intervention parents can easily do at home to increase their children's liking of food platings, as such potentially increasing their appetite. That original article, by Zampollo, Griffin, Wansink and Shimizu, can be read here.

There are, however, a few issues with the statistics and the interpretation of these statistics, as I explained in the commentary, which can be found here.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Brand personality vs image

Brand personality is often assessed in a way that does not match the way psychologists deal with the personality concept. In psychology, it is the person himself/herself that fills in a lengthy questionnaire which is then coded and results in a typology on the big five personality dimensions. In market research, brand personality is measured more often from a perceived point-of-view. Customers, or potential customers, are asked to fill in questionnaires about a brand. It is clear that the latter approach is more likely to result in an assessment of perceived brand personality or brand image, even if measures have been developed to try to focus on personality. 

In a recent presentation I elaborated on this issue. Included is a case study on how it has been applied to the study of Belgian financial banks. This case study was the subject of Jules De Bruycker's master thesis at Lessius University college, jointly supervised by me and Wim Lagae.

We are currently developing the proposed toolkit to easily assess the tension between brand personality (what the corporation thinks of its own personality) and brand image (what others think of it).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Green is for NO! Snickers' nutrition labels

Nutrition information on packaged foods indicating, for instance, caloric content is legally enforced in the United States and also in Europe there are only a few exceptions (I don't know about regulations in other parts of the world, so please leave a comment if you do so). What has been an issue, however, and one that has been debated for a long time, is the exact form these labels should have. What information should be present? In which format should it be presented? Where should the information be? There are still a number of degrees of freedom pertaining to these choices. In the USA, food manufacturers decided themselves to put the labels on the front of the packages. Being in the States at the moment, one of these front-of-pack labels caught my attention. It is the attention-grabbing green label on the Snickers bars. And I have ambivalent thoughts about it...

Example of a US Snickers calories label (originally featured on John B. Mahaffie's Blog)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where's the revenue in Google Glasses?

The Google Glasses preview seems great. It seems feasible, releases are expected pretty soon and there is some intuitive appeal to the idea (and some intuitive questions as well). If you have not seen the preview, you should.

A number of parodies, of course, already exist and one is remarkably interesting and touches upon important marketing and revenue issues.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Warm greetings by the Apple community -- Instagram

The instagram gates are open now for Android users. Fine. To be expected. After all, it is either them or someone else who would make a cool social photo app for android. Striking, however, is the Android Instagram lurker bashing going on on Twitter these days.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Aliens, hobbies, and strikes: social media manifestation as social influence

This post will be about media, new media, social media. Of course we know or believe these have immense persuasive (and pervasive) effects on people. There is a vast amount of advertising linked to these media, for instance. Remember: the services are free and if something is for free, than you are actually the product and not the genuine consumer. Viewed from another, social psychological, perspective, I will describe in this blogpost how these media are also persuasive katalysts that do not have an offline equivalent. The core of the argument will be that social media nowadays (such as facebook and twitter) actually give some insight about the prevalence of previously covert behaviors or opinions and this insight will lead to higher proliferation of these behaviors and opinions.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How "frictionless" is killing its darlings

One of the next hypes in social media will be frictionless sharing (see, e.g., Polle de Maagt). Whereas traditional sharing is fun and social, but cumbersome or time-consuming, frictionless sharing implies automatic sharing activities. In fact, lots of social network users are already sharing frictionless. For instance, with an automated link between LinkedIn or Facebook and Twitter, or with an automated Spotify sharing on one's Facebook account. Marketers now seem to massively dig into the frictionless idea, presumably because the less cumbersome sharing could increase eWOM (electronic Word-Of-Mouth). Or maybe they are just creating future job opportunities, because frictionless sharing might, in the longer term, kill a lot of the appeal of social networks to marketers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Schizophrenia: an online marketing disease

Two snippets of online marketing facts got some attention recently and, when tied together, they make the job of a well-done integrated online marketing campaign a work of geniuses, or schizophrenics. Well, in fact, it is not just snippets. We are talking about major moves of the two major online marketing platforms, namely Google and Facebook.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Epilogue to the DearMedia study on youth and TV

After the publication of the full report I mentioned in my previous post (which, in academic terms would not be considered a full report) and the comment by one of the authors (Jo Caudron) you'll find below that post, it is my duty to get back to the results and discuss them. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What you hear about research

Academia is often criticized for being a too slow innovation force, with research being either too fundamental and abstract or specific but outdated by the time it gets published. This is certainly the case in more applied disciplines like marketing communication and advertising research. While I will not contest this observation, I will try to make clear in this blogpost that the slowness of academia should not be replaced by mediocre research from non-academic research agencies. Of course, everybody is free to conduct research but non-academic research is rapidly gaining impact in society and this could be troublesome if it is treated just as if it was a piece of research that went through the complete scientific publication process.