How consumers process unexpected online advertisements: The effects of motion and abrupt onset on consumers’ attention and attitude

Online advertisements compete for consumer attention. This research investigates the effects of unexpected features in advertising such as motion and abrupt onset.

Management Slant

  • Online advertisements embedded with unexpected features—motion and abrupt onset, for instance—attract consumers’ attention in a bottom-up perspective.
  • Unexpected advertisements more likely will capture consumers’ attention during goal-oriented tasks than free-browsing tasks.
  • Consumers more likely will disengage from central processing during goal-oriented tasks and, therefore, are more attracted by unexpected advertisements than they might be during free-browsing tasks.
  • Unexpected advertisements are associated with a more favorable attitude and less perceived intrusiveness than unexpected advertisements that obstruct the web content.


Online advertising is central for both free-content websites and advertisers. According to recent reports, online advertising revenues totaled...

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