Does consumer scepticism negate the effects of visceral cues in weight loss advertising?

Clinton Amos

Augusta State University

Stacy Landreth Grau

Texas Christian University

Introduction

The presence of visceral factors is a phenomenon of recent interest to advertising and, for some products, important to public policy (Lynch & Zauberman 2006). Visceral factors are rewards that become progressively more attractive as they appear to draw nearer in time, appeal to a state of deprivation or desperation, and appear hedonically salient (Loewenstein 1996, 2000). In particular, the dissemination of information can be affected by the presence of visceral stimuli (Loewenstein 1996; Nordgren et al. 2006). Many of these visceral stimuli are based on visual cues, which are an important element in advertising (Stathakopoulos et al. 2008; Bu et al. 2009).The investigation of such behaviour warrants further consideration as society becomes more attuned to its visceral impulses (Bell et al. 2007). Recent research has posited that persuasive-minded individuals (e.g. advertisers, salespeople) employ visceral stimuli to generate rapid-affective responses, thus possibly resulting in an impulsive response (Langenderfer & Shimp 2001; Bell et al. 2007). In particular, the presence of visceral stimuli may result in a rapid-affective response, even for individuals not typically considered as responsive to advertising effects.