Abstract: This research addresses how positive and negative publicity about athlete endorsers influences motivational mechanisms (appetitive and aversive) underlying cognitive and affective processing and evaluation to ads. Participants viewed an ad for a soft drink brand that featured an athlete endorser while psychophysiological measures of cognition, emotion, and arousal were collected. Each ad was preceded by a news story that contained either positive or negative information about the athlete’s off-field behavior. Results indicate that cognition and arousal were enhanced in response to ads paired with negative news stories compared to ads paired with positive news stories. Findings suggest that aversive motivational activation elicited by the negative news stories transfers to processing and evaluation of the ads.