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The impact of advertising on consumer (dis)satisfaction


Consumers are increasingly exposed with advertising campaigns in which they are often confronted with idealized representations of the world (e.g. idealized situations, attractive models). A large amount of studies has shown that ads presenting idealized images can have strong effects on consumer satisfaction and welfare. However, obtained results were not consistent with each other. Some studies found that advertising had an increasing effect on consumer satisfaction; other studies found that advertising had a negative impact and led to consumer dissatisfaction. No research has ever tried to resolve why conflicting results were obtained in this area of research. Moreover, there exists no extant consumer behaviour model on the effects of advertising on consumer satisfaction. The objective of this project is to construct such a model, which should be able to
(a)resolve why conflicting findings have been obtained in the past,
(b) formulate the conditions under which consumer satisfaction or dissatisfaction will occur, and
(c) delineate the processes that play a role during comparison with idealized standards in ads. To achieve this objective, I will
(1) start from existing social comparison theories in social psychology,
(2) derive hypotheses from these theories with respect to the self-evaluative effects of advertising,
(3) test these hypotheses in an advertising context,
(4) construct the intended consumer behaviour model on the basis of the tested hypotheses, and
(5) test the validity of the consumerbehavior model by using a meta-analytic study. The scientific, managerial, and public policy relevance of this project will be discussed in the proposal.

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Warandelaan, 2

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