A basic assumption in advertising is that brands become more well-liked after they were presented in positive contexts. This assumption is warranted because studies on ‘evaluative conditioning’ have demonstrated that when a brand is repeatedly presented together with positive affective stimuli (e.g., beautiful people, nature scenes, celebrity endorsers …), this results indeed in a long-lasting positive effect on the evaluation of the brand. This dissertation deals with the primary question of what is causing this change in attitudes. It is shown that there are at least two fundamentally different psychological processes that can cause this change in brand attitude. First, it is possible that through the establishment of memory associations between the brand and the positive affective stimuli, the brand becomes more positively evaluated (associative affect transfer). Second, it is also possible to transfer positive affect directly to the brand. In this case, affect ‘rubs off’ to the brand without the need to establish memory associations (direct affect transfer). The conditions under which affect transfer will be associative versus direct are identified. It is also demonstrated that achieving direct affect transfer carries distinct advantages for advertisers. With direct affect transfer – as opposed to associative affect transfer – the brand becomes immune to the negative effects of its endorsers falling from grace, to interference of the memory traces and to consumers’ counter arguing strategies.

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Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) Dr. D. Smeesters Prof.dr. C. Janiszewski Prof.dr.ir. G. van Bruggen
S.M.J. van Osselaer (Stijn)
Erasmus University Rotterdam , Erasmus Research Institute of Management
ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Sweldens, S. (2009, May 29). Evaluative Conditioning 2.0: Direct versus Associative Transfer of Affect to Brands (No. EPS-2009-167-MKT). ERIM Ph.D. Series Research in Management. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/16012