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

Clinton Amos

Augusta State University

Stacy Landreth Grau

Texas Christian University


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.