Attitudes and Attitude Change

What is an attitude? How are attitudes formed?

Is it possible to measure attitude change? Is it possible to change a consumer's attitude?



A lasting, general evaluation of people (including oneself) objects or issues


Attitude Object---- Ao

Anything towards which one has an attitude can be a physical object or an abstract idea

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The Functional Theory of Attitudes

According to psychologist Daniel Katz and his Functional Theory of Attitudes, attitudes facilitate social behaviour; they are functional for the person and are determined by a person's motives. Consumers can have different reasons for having the same attitude according to Katz:

Functional Theory of Attitudes


A pragmatic approach that focuses on how attitudes facilitate social behaviour; attitudes exist because they serve some function for the person: utilitarian, value expressive, ego-defensive,or knowledge function






Attitude Functions

ChocolateUtilitarian Function-

We develop attitudes on things if they are pleasurable or painful. Example: chocolate tastes good;I like it.


JaguarValue-Expressive Function

A person forms a product attitude not because of its objective benefits, but what it says about him. Example: he drives a Jaguar, what does that say about him?


deodorantEgo-defensive Function

Attitudes formed to protect consumers from external/internal threat insecurities: example: deodorants


Consumer Reports

Knowledge Function

Attitude because of need for order, structure or meaning-need is presents when person in ambiguous situation or with a new product. For example consumer learns about product from detailed description of product attributes or a recognizable source like Consumer Reports.


Attitudes can serve more than one function; marketer who understands dominant functions can tailor ads

Consumers demonstrate different levels of commitment to attitude objects; example sport fans: diehard fan, fair weather fans, social group attendee(-go for party)

Examples of Types of Functions:


Utilitarian..Cadbury Aliens--Pleasurable Cadbury

Ego Defensive Commercial

Jaguar Value Expressive Below

See a rather creepy Imodium commercial here Hot Tub


The ABC Model of Attitudes

ABC Model of attitudes: Affect (how you feel about attitude object), Behaviour (what you intend to do), Cognition (beliefs you have about object)

We can know a lot about a product but not have a feeling about it

ABC Model of Attitudes

Most researchers agree attitude has three parts: affect, behaviour, cognition



The way a consumer feels about an attitude object




A consumer's actions with regard to an attitude object





The beliefs a consumer has about an attitude object



Hierarchy of Effects

explains the impact of three components (affect, behaviour, cognition)

Hierarchy of Effects:

A fixed sequence of steps that occurs during attitude formation;this sequence varies depending upon such factors as the consumer's level of involvement with the attitude object


House Buying -Cognition->Belief.BehaviourHIGH INVOLVEMENT HIERARCHY


(Cognition-Belief -->Affect-->Behaviour)


Consumer accumulates knowledge of a product and forms beliefs; consumer evaluates beliefs and forms a feeling; consumer buys product


This careful choice process often creates brand-loyal-consumer "bonds" with product




Low involvement -Buying snacks C.B>ALOW INVOLVMENT HIERARCHY



Consumer does not have strong preference for brand,acts on limited knowledge then forms a belief (behavioural learning RF by good or bad choice)


Results in paradox ---> the less important the product is to consumers, the more important are the marketing stimuli (a catchy jingle, etc.)


Attitude Towards the Advertisement


Attitude towards the Advertisement


Predisposition to respond in a favourable way to a particular advertising stimulus during a particular exposure occasion

Consumer not only has attitude to product but also to advertisement; advertisement can form the attitude for the product

Determinants of this include viewer's attitude toward advertiser, evaluation of ad, mood evoked by ad, arousal level created; viewer's feeling about where ad appears saw ad in favorite program)

paws dogAds can evoke range of feelings. It can be way ad is done, advertiser motives: upbeat, warm or negative feelings.

We love puppies, kittens, babies

So what makes humans such softies for babies, puppies and little animals? See what the Wall Street Journal has to say below.


What ads annoy you? Why? is it the product? the execution? the repetition? the content?

Changing the attitude to product See Pepto Bismol Commercial 


Classically conditioned:

pairing product with pleasant/memorable jingle; instrumental conditioning where attitude is reinforced--it quenches your's exactly as advertised; received reward; or complex cognitive process--modeling-friends are wearing using product celebrity does it/uses it. I fit in when I use _________.

Different categories: brand loyal consumer has deeply held attitude to attitude object; occasional user will abandon the product if something new /interesting comes along

Levels of Commitment to Attitude

Compliance-lowest level attitude formed because it helps gain reward or avoids punishment-superficial -behaviour may change when option available or others not around-it may be only brand available

Identification- when attitudes formed to be similar to another person/group-imitation

Internalization-high level deep seated attitudes internalized and part of value system example: Coke bring out new Coke


Principle of Cognitive Consistency

The belief that consumers value harmony among their thoughts, feelings and behaviours and that they are motivated to maintain uniformity in these elements; if necessary, consumers change their thoughts, feelings, behaviours to make them consistent with other experiences. How does this attitude fit with my other attitudes?

Theory of Cognitive Dissonance

The theory that when a person is confronted with inconsistencies among attitudes or behaviours, he/she will take some action to resolve the dissonance buy changing an attitude or behaviour; tends to explain why evaluation of product after purchase increases. I bought that; I am smart.

Self-Perception Theory

An alternative explanation of dissonance effects; it assumes that people use observations of their own behaviour to infer their attitudes towards some object; I keep buying x; I must like x; relevant for low involvement hierarchy

Foot in doorFoot-in-the-door technique

Based on the observation that a consumer is more likely to comply with a smaller request


Social Judgment Theory

Perspective that people assimilate new information about attitude objects in light of what they already know or feel; the initial attitude acts as a frame of reference, and new information is categorized in terms of this standard

Latitudes of Acceptance and Rejection

Formed around an attitude standard; ideas that fall within a latitude will be favourably received while those falling outside this zone will not; the more involved with an attitude consumer is the narrower the latitude

Balance Theory

Balance TheoryTheory that considers relations among elements a person might perceive as belonging together, and people's tendency to change relations among elements in order to make them consistent or balanced; a unit relation is formed.

Attitude structure is triad consisting of

  1. a person and their perceptions
  2. an attitude object
  3. some other person or object.

Example: Monica likes Jerry, Jerry wears X, Monica does not like X--need to balance-balance means attitude is stable- explains celebrity endorsement



Multi-Attribute Attitude Models

Models that assume consumer's attitude of attitude object depends on beliefs about several or many attributes of the object; the use of multi-attribute model implies that an attitude towards a product or brand can be predicted by identifying specific beliefs and combining them to derive a measure of consumer's overall attitude .Elements: Attributes-characteristics, assumption is these can be identified;Beliefs-cognitions about object-extent that brand has particular attribute; Importance weight-priority of attribute-these vary across consumers

Fishbein Model

Most influential multi-attribute attitude Model measuring 1. salient beliefs(beliefs considered during evaluation) 2. object-attitude linkages (probability that a particular object has an important attribute 3. evaluation of each of the important attributes. Model assumes specification of relevant attributes,consumer identifies relevant attributes,weigh them and summarize.
Attitude score obtained by multiplying consumer's rating of each attribute for all brands considered by the importance rating for that attribute (problem:knowledge of consumer attitude doesn't predict behaviour) Link between attitude and behaviour?


Theory of Reasoned Action Extended Fishbein Model

An updated version of Fishbein multi-attitude theory (to improve predictability) that considers factors such as, social pressure, attitude toward act of buying a product, rather than the attitudes to the product itself. This theory aims to measure behavioural intention.


Attitude towards the act of buying

The perceived consequences of a purchase; how you feel about the purchase


Obstacles to Predicting using Reasoned Action

Model developed to deal with actual behaviour not outcome of behaviour; some outcomes are out of consumer control (might want something but be unable to get it); assumption that behaviour is intentional may be invalid: impulse, change in circumstance; novelty; repeat buying. It may not work across culture. Measure of attitude doesn't correspond to behaviour. Ttime frameis important; direct experience stronger predictor than an ad--need to induce a trial usage



What factors determine the effectiveness of a communication?

Can those factors be manipulated to modify or change an attitude?

Is the consumer a passive being brainwashed by media or is consumer active participant who uses media as resource to fulfill needs?

Persuasion: an active attempt to change attitudes; a central goal of a marketing communication

What questions must be answered before creating a message?

  1. WHO will be in the message: celebrity, actor, career person
  2. HOW should the message be made? Showing positive consequence, or negative, compare brands; product benefits
  3. WHAT MEDIA to transmit? print, TV, what magazine-generally match attributes of product with attributes of medium
  4. WHAT CHARACTERISTICS of target market might influence ad's acceptance: board or frustrated susceptible to fantasy



Communications Model

Framework specifying a number of elements for communications including source(encoding), message, medium(transmission), receiver, feedback (decoding) All have potential for noise

communications model


Interactive Communications

Today the simple communications model is limited; consumer is not a passive being, receptacle ;see Uses and Gratifications Theory -User generated content immediately uploaded is affecting the communications model. Where in the past the model of advertising was more push, today the emphasis on pull. The consumer can push a message and pull what interests him/her.


Uses and Gratifications Theory

Perspective that the consumer uses the media to meet more than strictly informational needs; consumer is ACTIVE; mass media is resource consumer draws on to satisfy needs "what do people do with their media; media competes is entertainment and diversion as well as information
(a blurred line between marketing and entertainment, escapism, play, self affirmation)

Levels of Interactive Response

Response is more than just buying, it's brand awareness, feature identification, reminder to buy, building a long term relationship. When a consumer creates a viral message for a product, he/she has become engaged with that brand.

First Order Response

A product offer that directly yields a response is first order. Revenue, sales data are source of feedback

Second Order Response

Customer feedback in response to a marketing message that is not a transaction is a second order response: request for information, join mailing list, referral to other

The Source

Source Credibility

A communications source's perceived expertise, objectivity or trustworthiness, credibility is persuasive when new product, unknown. Building credibility; source's qualifications relevant to product; credibility is subjective decision

Martha StewartSource Attractiveness

The source's perceived social value: physical appearance,personality, social status, similarity to receiver. Celebrity endorsement is attractive; star has cultural meaning, status, class. Star evokes a personality, match it to product

But will that star be attractive tomorrow? Think Martha Stewart, Tiger Woods, OJ Simpson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Vick

Match-up Hypothesis

Theory that the dominant characteristics of a product should match the dominant features of communications source

Q rating

Quality rating considers consumer's level of familiarity with name and number of respondents who indicate person, program or character is favourite

An organization that provides info on Q ratings is at

Halo Effect

When person who is rated highly on one feature is assumed to have other positive features. Example: attractive person is also assumed to be smart, and nice

Sleeper Effect

The process whereby differences in attitude change between positive and negative sources seem to diminish over time (example Mr Whipple annoying "please don't squeeze the Charmin)


The Message/ Persuasivenes

Message persuasiveness

To increase persuasiveness of message: need brand differentiating message: a unique attribute (USP=Unique Selling Proposition), benefit, convenient, improved features; indirect comparison, demonstration, tangible results
verbal/visual,vividness, repetition

One-sided versus two sided arguments

Marketing message can be like persuasive debate. Most messages present one side, the positive supportive side. Can have two-sided message where positive and negative presented, not widely used. Two-sided argument is best when audience educated, when receiver not loyal

Drawing Conclusions

Should the message tell you what to think, or should you be left to conclude? Consumer who concludes on own tends to have stronger attitude, but not concluding can leave no conclusion. If argument is hard to follow, safer to draw conclusion

comparative ads

Comparative Advertising

A strategy where message compares two or more specifically named brands and compares them in terms of one or more attributes. Yields mixed results. Can be effective in new product, or if doesn't reach too far .

Coke vs Pepsi

Barnardos ad

Emotional versus Rational Appeals

Which appeal depends on nature of product and relationship consumers have with it. Ads to support charitable functions often use emotional appeals. One recent anti-poverty campaign by an organization in Britain called Barnardo's was forced to axe a pre-Christmas advertising campaign after the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the content to be too shocking.

Read the story and see two other ads: Banned



Pushing the envelope in terms of the taste and tone of ads is a time-honored tactic in fields like apparel, footwear and fragrances, as smaller advertisers seek to appeal to consumers — particularly younger ones — by adopting the personas of risk-taking rule-breakers who defy the conventions of society. Read more in this New York Times article Shockvertising (inside link)

Levi's created one of the creepiest campaign's ever in their Unbutton your Beast campaign See the archived site here

Pony ad baby with tattooPony athletic shoes campaign, with a budget estimated at $5 million to $7 million, is composed of print advertisements and posters with stark images designed to provoke double takes among the target audience of boys and men ages 15 to 25. In one ad, an infant with a tough look on his face stands to show tattoos on his stomach and leg

A new Vodka -Ivanabitch has already had their ads banned because of a Pickle see Ivanabitch (inside link)

See the scariest viral commercial ever for K-fee

French Connection UK -FCUK has gone back to using French Connection as their name but it hasn't stopped them from being controversial. In a 2006 television and cinema ad campaign, two women are shown kissing and tearing each other's clothes off in between exchanging kicks and punches, but their sales are down see FCUK-lesbian fisticuffs


Sex Appeals (Sex Sells Sometimes)

Female nudity causes negative reaction for women, men more positive; sex draws attention, but should not take away total attention; sex works when product is sexually related. Beer has often been marketed by using sexual images, but does it work and is it getting to be too "in your face?" To read more click, Sex is a pretty stale way to sell suds. Or read about Miller Beer's Catfight campaign

See the animals in this French Orangina commercial

Can sex sell breast cancer awareness? Read the story, decide Girls with Guns Target Breast Cancer(inside link)

Two reports, one from Headlight Vision, a market research company in New York and Chartered Institute of Marketing in England suggest that sexual ads don't have the earth-moving impact they once did; sexually explicit advertising is now considered boring or mundane by young consumers. Read more from the Toronto Star The Thrill is Gone- or is it?

Check out this UK 2003 commercial, Archers for the ladies

With Paris Hilton's Carl's Junior over the top ad, some companies are trying to push the limits. Plugg Jeans recently had it's overtly sexual ad Time Square billboard turned down by the building owner. See the ad and read more at Too Suggestive

How effective are these ads? Click Sex Appeal

Humorous Appeals

Use of humour can be tricky. There are cultural aspects, gender aspect, generational aspects, personal aspects

Humour may get attention but it needs to be connected in a positive way with a brand. If it overwhelms the brand it may not be successful as well as personal taste aspects. Brand needs to be clear. Humour needs to be appropriate to product's image. Marketers are using weird and wacky humour to appeal to a younger market. What is funny to one group may be offensive to another group. A humour appeal needs to appeal to the specific target group without being offensive to it..

see Humour I don't think so to see a BC marketing mistake Check out these humourous print ads (inside link) See this John West Salmon Commercial

Fear Appeal

anorexiaAn attempt to change attitudes or behaviour through use of threats or by heightening of negative consequences of noncompliance with the request. (Stop smoking ads). Most effective when moderate level of fear; fear too great--->denial. Solution should be offered --Compare this fear ad to the above (emotional) banned ads : Fear ad (inside link)

See Mar 2006 study on fear and youth Anti-smoking ads freak kids out

In 2007 an ad campaign from the Italian label Nolita is using images of a nude, emaciated 27-year-old woman with the line "No. Anorexia" creating a debate that many in the fashion industry have tried to keep silent.

Is the image too scary? Read more at No Anorexia

Check these ads--->What type of appeal?


The use of an explicit comparison between a product and some other person, place or thing


Mustards last standResonance

A literary device frequently used in advertising that employs a play on words (a double meaning) to communicate a product benefit Bounce Fabric softener: Is there something creeping up behind you?

Give consumer sense he/she is in on it and "gets" the inside message



A story or drama draws viewer in emotionally

Taster's Choice CoupleExample: Taster's Choice Couple - In the 1990s Taster's Choice coffee began running serialized commercial spots that followed the romantic encounters of a man and a woman whose shared a fondness for Taster's Choice.

The commercials created a soap opera environment which teased the viewers to tune in next commercial to see whether the attractive couple would progress beyond just sharing a cup of coffee to possibly sharing a date, or dare we hope... a bed? The successful commercial spots produced a 10 percent increase in products sales soon after they aired. The Taster's Choice ad originated in England in 1987 for a Gold Blend Coffee Campaign; Mr. Head and Ms. Maugham reprised their roles in the U.S. campaign in 1990. The McCann-Erickson ad agency created the Gold Blend/Taster's Choice coffee campaign in both Britain and America. Gold Blend was the No. 2 instant coffee in the UK after Nescafe.

see the series of ads

Transformational advertising

Consumer associates the experience of product usage with some subjective sensation

Elaboration Likelihood Model ELM

The Elaboration Likelihood Model is the approach that one of two routes to persuasion (central versus peripheral) will be followed depending on the personal relevance of a message, the route taken determines the relative importance of message contents versus other characteristics such as source attractiveness. ELM has received research support

The Two Routes of the Elaboration Likelihood Model ELM

Central Route to Persuasion

Under high involvement in ELM consumer takes central route, consumer thinks about arguments and generates cognitive responses

Example: Buying a House

Peripheral Route to Persuasion

Under low involvement consumer not motivated to think about argument and will use other cues to decide: package, attractiveness of source, context of message-called peripheral cues because they surround message

Example: Grabbing a quick snack. Whatever is around will influence you.

References as noted above and: Solomon, Michael R., Zaichkowsky, Judith and Rosemary Polegato. Consumer Behaviour: Buying, Having, Being. Canadian Edition. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada



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