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How Childhood Advertising Exposure Can Create Biased Product Evaluations That Persist into Adulthood

Paul M. Connell, Merrie Brucks and Jesper H. Nielsen

Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, vol. 41, issue 1, 119 - 134

Abstract: Previous research has found that children incrementally learn how to cope with advertising as they age. The current research investigates whether these developmental constraints in advertising knowledge at time of exposure have enduring consequences. Results from four experimental studies show that childhood exposure to advertisements can lead to resilient biased product evaluations that persist into adulthood. Study 1 demonstrates that positive affect toward ad-related stimuli encountered in childhood mediates the relationship between childhood advertising exposure and biased evaluations for products associated with childhood (but not adulthood) advertising. Study 2 demonstrates stronger biases when participants are exposed to childhood advertising cues relative to childhood consumption cues. Studies 3 and 4 show that even when ability and motivation to correct bias are high, lingering positive affect toward childhood ad-related stimuli is a motivational deterrent to correct biased product evaluations. Study 4 also shows that biased product evaluations can transfer to line extensions.

Date: 2014
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