ABSTRACT: The present study (N=82) employed a 2 (advertisement format: advergame vs. video commercial) x 2 (brand prominence: low (Asus) vs. high (KFC)) between-subjects factorial experiment to investigate the effect of advertising format on advertising recognition and cognitive load. Findings show that advergames, in comparison to online video commercials, are more difficult for consumers to recognize as advertising and this effect is enhanced under conditions where brand prominence is low (vs high). This study suggests that both advertising format and brand prominence can serve as cues that a message is advertising. We believe that the psychological mechanisms behind the effects of these two message characteristics are distinct and have implications for development of theory. The findings provided in the current study suggest, to both regulators and practitioners that use covert tactics, that brand prominence is one avenue worth considering when consumer recognition of covert advertising is at stake.
Abstract: This study first investigated the effect of advertising format (advergames vs online video commercials) on consumers’ ability to recognize advertising. Second, we tested how advertising format differentially impacted consumers’ self-reported cognitive load. Third, we examined how cognitive load impacted consumers’ ability to recognize advertising. Finally, we investigated the moderating effect of brand prominence on the relationship between a) advertising format and advertising recognition and b) cognitive load and advertising recognition. Findings (N= 82 undergraduate students) suggest that advergames, in comparison to online video commercials, are more difficult for consumers to recognize as advertising and the effect is enhanced when brand prominence is low. While results indicated a marginally significant effect of advertising format on cognitive load, no significant indirect effect of ad format through cognitive load on advertising recognition was found. These findings offer theoretical and policy related implications.