Memory for Implied Versus Directly Stated Advertising Claims

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An experiment tested young adults' memory for advertising slogans that either stated a strong claim directly or only implied the same claim by stating it in a much weaker form. Several advertising slogans were inserted into a story. There were two versions of each slogan, asserted and implied. The asserted version made a claim very directly and strongly (e.g.Alka‐Seltzer stops common aches). The implied version only suggested the stronger claim (e.g.Alka‐Seltzer helps lessen common aches). Subjects read the story, which contained one of the two versions of each ad. After subjects finished reading the story, they were asked to recall all the brands and products. Then they performed a multiple choice task testing memory for the content of the advertising claims. While results showed no difference on the recall task, subjects on the multiple choice task frequently falsely recognized implied claims as asserted but seldom the reverse. Although they correctly recognized more asserted than implied claims, they were more confident in their correct memory for the implied claims. Results were applied to the problem of deceptive advertising. Copyright © 1989 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company

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