Pay Attention to the Ad Creator Behind the Curtain

Jun 19, 2013, 10:07 ET from American Marketing Association

CHICAGO, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent study unveils that companies who co-create advertisements with consumers should provide background information about the ad content and the ad creator to establish credibility and encourage identification with ad recipients.


Over the last few years, companies have involved consumers in marketing initiatives with the expectation of increasing brand engagement with target markets. In the paper, Consumer-generated Ads: Does Awareness of Advertising Co-Creation Help or Hurt Persuasion?, co-authors Debora Thompson and Prashant Malaviya, associate professors of marketing at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, examined results from four studies focusing on the impact of consumer-generated ads.

Their findings show that when ad recipients were informed about the co-creation effort they either became skeptical about the competence of the ad creator or were unable to relate to the ad due to a lack of brand loyalty. In order to make co-created advertisements more effective, marketers should share traits of the ad creator with the ad recipients to communicate similarities and strengthen identification. The environment in which consumers viewed co-created advertisements also played a critical role in marketing effectiveness – as high distraction viewing conditions limited the viewers' ability to think critically, which made them less skeptical and more likely to relate to the ad creator and the advertised message.

The study appears in the May (2013) issue of the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing.

The authors state that, "Marketers should continue to engage consumers and benefit from their creativity, but they should be careful about how they publicize this fact to the population at large. It is important to develop a narrative not only about the ad contest itself, but also about the consumer creating the ad."

Marketers should also recognize that they can maximize the effectiveness of co-creation efforts when these are carefully aligned to the brand's growth objectives. Specifically, consumer-generated ads appear particularly effective for retaining a brand's loyal consumers, rather than for attracting customers who are not presently loyal to the brand.

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SOURCE American Marketing Association