Affect, Reason, and Persuasion Advertising Strategies That Predict Affective and Analytic-Cognitive Responses


  • The authors would like to thank Howard Giles and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Special thanks are due to James Watt for his advice during the course of this study. This study was funded, in part, by the University of Connecticut Research Foundation.


Advertisements are messages designed with the goal of persuasion and can therefore be considered as ecologically valid examples of persuasive messages. The study of responses to advertisements can provide insights into the interplay of affective and analytic-cognitive aspects of the persuasion process. This study develops and tests hypotheses concerning the relationship of specific advertising strategies to affective (syncretic-cognitive) and analytic cognitive responses in the audience. Specifically, it is postulated that different advertising strategies predict different patterns of affective and analytic cognition with product involvement and other relevant variables controlled. Two hundred forty advertisements are analyzed both in terms of their strategy attributes and the reactions they evoke. Advertising strategy variables are demonstrated to account substantially for the variance in affective and analytic cognition.