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Abstract

Marketers often use salient stimuli to draw consumers' attention to a specific brand in the hope that a selective focus on the brand increases the sales of this brand. However, previous studies are inconsistent concerning the impact that selectively focusing on a specific brand has on final brand choice. To offer an explanation for these inconsistent results, this paper introduces decision involvement as a moderator of the relation between selective focus and attitude–decision consistency. Two studies indicate that selectively focusing on a not preferred alternative indeed alters choice decisions, but only when decision involvement is low. Study 1 further shows that this interaction effect between selective focus and involvement takes place in the selection rather than the brand consideration stage. By introducing level of processing along with decision involvement, Study 2 shows that the interaction effect emerges even in limited processing conditions. The study also reconciles different explanations for the negative effect of selective focus on attitude–behavior consistency. Selectively focusing on a not preferred choice option when consumers are low involved and use limited processing seems to lead to inconsistent choices because of an increased accessibility of the focal option, whereas selective focus on a not preferred option when consumers are low involved and use deep processing lead to inconsistent choices because of attitude polarization. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.