“Changing the Game: The Effects of Cognitive Load and Brand Prominence on Covert Advertising Recognition.”

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.