Brand novelty and publicity about athlete endorsers affect psychological processing of ads

Abstract: Using hierarchy of effects theoretical framework, the present study investigates psychological responses to positive and negative publicity about athlete endorsers. Furthermore, this research addresses the role of brand novelty on these processes. Participants were exposed to an ad for a soft drink brand (either novel or well-established) that featured an athlete endorser. Each ad was paired with a news story that contained either positive or negative information about the athlete’s off-field behavior. Participants’ cognitive, affective, and conative responses were assessed. Results indicate more cognition, affect, and conation to ads associated with positive publicity about the athletes and for established brands. Unexpectedly, publicity and brand novelty interacted such that established brands were more susceptible to the effects of publicity than were novel brands. Results are discussed in regard to furthering theory and practical implications.