August 10, 2011
Pulling A Fast One: How Do Consumers React To Zippy Disclaimers?
Consumers react negatively to most quick disclaimers at the end of ads, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. But if the fast disclaimer comes from a trusted company, they'll let it slide.
"We suggest that fast disclaimers can give consumers the impression that the advertisement is trying to conceal information, 'pulling a fast one' toward the goal of boosting purchase intention," write authors Kenneth C. Herbst (Wake Forest University), Eli J. Finkel (Northwestern University), David Allan (Saint Joseph's University), and Gráinne M. Fitzsimons (Duke University). At first glance, it may seem preferable to zoom through those nasty side effects, saving precious advertising moments for the positive aspects of a product and glossing over undesirable information. But the authors found this strategy can backfire, except for the most trusted brands.
The authors believe their findings may reveal some bias in the system of regulating advertisements and requiring disclaimers. "Any policies that regulate disclaimer content but not disclaimer speed could infuse systematic bias favoring some companies over others," the authors explain. "Such policies would allow companies whom consumers already trust to pack the required disclaimer content into just a few seconds without undermining consumers' trust and purchase intention, whereas these policies would end up forcing companies whom consumers either distrust or do not know to devote more time to this required content, presenting it at a slower speed."
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