Previous research on the persuasive effects of ad cues, such as endorser attractiveness, has shown that these cues often serve as shortcuts to product evaluation when recipients are not motivated to process product information. In this article, the role of message cues was hypothesized to depend as much on the types of motives that guide message processing as on the degree of motivation. In an experiment, different goal-relevant attributes were made salient prior to viewing a target ad for a restaurant. The attractiveness of endorsers in the ad and the level of motivation to process the ad (involvement) were also manipulated. When the salient attributes were relevant to sensory gratification (e.g., taste and aroma), endorser attractiveness influenced evaluations of the restaurant under low but not high involvement. When the salient attributes were relevant to public image goals (e.g., creating a good social impression), endorser attractiveness influenced evaluations under high but not low involvement. Analysis of subjects' listed thoughts suggested that, when sensory attributes were salient, the persuasive impact of endorser attractiveness occured via a relatively peripheral route. However, when image attributes were salient, the effect of endorser attractiveness occurred through a more central route, providing information that was processed elaborately when motivation to process was high.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology