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Indiana University Bloomington

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Journal Articles

A Process Analysis of the Effects of Humorous Advertising Executions on Brand Claims Memory

2003, Journal of Consumer Psychology

H. Shanker Krishnan, Dipankar Chakravarti

Abstract

We report 2 studies that examined how the strength of humorous advertising executions and their relevance to the brand claims in the advertisement influence consumer memory for the claims. We infer the underlying memory processes by testing claims memory using recall, recognition, and indirect tests following incidental exposure to advertisements manipulating humor strength and claims relevance. Memory for the humor component was checked as corroborating evidence. We also validated these inferences by contrasting these effects on claims and humor memory with those under instructed elaboration. Study 1 shows that for humor of low claims relevance, brand claims memory is an inverted U-shaped function of humor strength. Compared to both nonhumor and high-strength humor, moderate humor facilitates both encoding and retrieval of the claims. The patterns of humor memory and instructed elaboration effects suggest that low-relevance humor is not spontaneously linked to the claims even when processing resources are available. Study 2 shows that when strong humor is made more relevant, brand claims memory improves even during incidental exposure. Corresponding humor memory and instructed elaboration effects imply that relevance encourages the formation of humor-claims links that facilitate encoding and retrieval of the claims. The results show that although strong humor inhibits the processing received by the brand claims, enhancing its claims relevance can compensate for such inhibition.

Citation

Krishnan, H. Shanker and Dipankar Chakravarti (2003), "A Process Analysis of the Effects of Humorous Advertising Executions on Brand Claims Memory," Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(3), 230-245.