Brand novelty and publicity about athlete endorsers affect cognitive processing and evaluation of ads

Abstract: Using a hierarchy of effects framework (Lavidge and Steiner 1961), the present study investigated how brand novelty and publicity about athlete endorsers influence cognition, affect, and conation in response to ads. In a between-subjects design, a total of 422 participants were exposed to an ad for a fictitious or established soft drink brand that featured an athlete endorser. Each ad was paired with a blog post that contained either positive or negative information about the athlete’s off-field behavior. Results indicate that brand novelty, but not publicity, affect cognitive processing. In contrast, publicity, but not brand novelty, influence affective responding and purchase intention. These findings support the hierarchy of effects framework by indicating that cognitive processes are affected by characteristics central to the brand while later processes, such as affect and purchase intention, are influenced by supplemental, tangential information. Furthermore, interactions revealed that new brands are more susceptible to the effects of publicity than established brands – positive information increased positive affect and negative information decreased purchase intention for these brands. Results are discussed in regards to furthering advertising theory and practical implications.