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Title: Effect of social context on advertising reception
Author: Puntoni, Stefano
ISNI:       0000 0001 3502 9055
Awarding Body: University of London: London Business School
Current Institution: London Business School (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis investigates the role of social context in consumer response to advertising. The first two essays report the results of an empirical research program on social context and advertising reception where I focus on two basic dimensions of social context: presence versus absence and audience composition. In the first essay I present the results of a series of experiments that investigate the consequences of social presence - seeing an ad alone or in company of another person - for message reception. Using reaction times on a lexical decision task. I show that the presence of another person increases the accessibility of a concern with social desirability. The experiments also found a significant impact of social context on recall memory, one that mirrored the relative shift in reaction times. The results provide a novel theoretical framework on the role of social context with important implications for advertisers and marketing researchers. In the second essay I focus on audience composition effects and assess the influence of self-construal on advertising response. Drawing from literature on identity salience I propose a theoretical framework to explain how consumer context can influence the effectiveness of social marketing campaigns. In a series of experiments I examine how situational factors can increase the salience of a certain identity dimension (e.g. gender) and thereby increase one's perceived susceptibility to risky associated with this trait (e. g. prostrate cancer), as well as influence affective and attentional processes during exposure to health-related communications. The third essay reviews the conceptual foundations of advertising polysemy - the occurrence of different interpretations for the same advertising message. Taking a multidisciplinary perspective, I identify five recurrent themes to foster our understanding of the influence of social variables in advertising interpretation. Implications for advertising practice and market segmentation are discussed.
Supervisor: Tavassoli, Nader Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Advertising ; Sociology