Five research streams on “how advertising works” are viewed by almost every brand manager and advertiser and then they draw out the plans and pertinent strategies in order to make their advertising work. The first dealt with the effects of ad exposure and ad created brand familiarity. The most extreme version of the mere exposure effect hypothesizes that liking can be created simply from exposure, with no cognitive activity at all. Such a phenomenon has been demonstrated for nonsense syllables and could provide insights as to how repetition affects the impact of advertising. The familiarity model suggests that people like objects with which they are familiar and that advertising leads to such familiarity. 

Second, low involvement learning research postulates that TV advertising, operating under low involvement and perceptual defenses, creates changes in perceptual structure that can trigger a behavioral act, which in turn, affects attitude. Related research develops this low-involvement hierarchy (behavior change preceding real attitude change) for certain types of products and contrasts it with the high involvement DAGMAR hierarchy is reviewed earlier (in which behavior follows attitude change).

The third stream of research covered the elaboration likelihood model. Here, the central route to persuasion describes an active, conscious, in depth processing of information and adjustment of attitudes. In the peripheral route, in contrast to, peripheral cues such as the credibility of the source influence attitudes, with little active thinking about the object. The central route will be employed only when the audience member is motivated to process information and has the ability to do so. For motivation to be present, the audience member needs to be involved with the product, and the information in the ad needs to relevant and important. A problem is to determine exactly what will be processed as a peripheral cue and exactly how it will affect attitudes.

Fourth, in high involvement situations, during or just after being exposed to a communication, the audience can engage in cognitive responses such as counter arguing or support arguing. In the cognitive response model, this activity is assumed to affect attitudes. By this model, advertising can increase its effectiveness by encouraging support arguing and by inhibiting counter arguing.

Finally, it is proved that while recall is a necessary condition for persuasion in high involvement, it is not a sufficient condition. Material about the brand not only has to be easily recallable by the consumer at the time the choice is being made, but the recalled material must also be considered useful by the consumer in making a choice in order to have an impact, and it must show the brand to be competitively superior. In low involvement situations, however, brand recall itself is often a major determinant of choice, or at least of entry into the final consideration set of brands being considered for choice.


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