This research examines how salience of manipulative intent affects the evaluation of ads that are presented in a narrative or expository format. Study 1 shows that when manipulative intent is not salient, narrative ads are evaluated more positively than expository ads because they trigger a narrative processing style. When manipulative intent is salient, however, consumers regard the advertiser's tactics more suspiciously and adopt an analytical processing style to evaluate both narrative and expository ads. As a result, the relative advantage of narrative ads over expository ads disappears. A mediational analysis reveals that these effects are mediated by inferences of manipulative intent. Furthermore, Study 2 shows that cognitive load moderates these effects and that the negative impact of manipulative intent is significantly attenuated when cognitive load is high. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.