This study focused on the influence of selective exposure within an experiment designed to investigate context effects on advertising effectiveness. In a semi-natural viewing environment, 86 participants chose one of four television programmes to view. The programmes belonged to diverse genres: news and current affairs, light entertainment, sport, and action-adventure. Each programme was interrupted by two commercial breaks containing unfamiliar advertisements for familiar product types. Self-rated involvement, entertainment, and enjoyment of programmes correlated positively with subsequent measures of memory for and responses to the advertisements. The results support the hypothesis that the operation of selective exposure within an experimental situation may result in positive relationships between predictor variables and measures of advertisement effectiveness. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.