An important role of informative advertising is to inform consumers of the simple fact that the shop that advertises sells a particular product. This information may help consumers to save on their search activities: instead of wandering around, a consumer can simply visit the shop that has advertised, knowing that there he can find the commodity he is looking for. The implications of this simple fact have not been studied before. Using game theoretic reasoning in a model that combines consumer search and firms' advertising we show that firms may find it optimal to advertise prices that are higher than nonadvertised prices. The important mechanism underlying this result is that advertising lowers the expected search cost for consumers. Through this analysis we provide a new insight into the role of informative advertising.

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Keywords advertising effectiveness, consumer behavior, consumer search, game theory, information-seeking strategies, informative advertising, prices, searching behavior
JEL Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge (jel D83), Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms (jel L11), Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets (jel L13), Advertising (jel M37)
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Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Marketing Science: the marketing journal of INFORMS
Janssen, M.C.W, & Non, M.C. (2009). Going Where the Ad Leads You: On High Advertised Prices and Searching Where to Buy. Marketing Science: the marketing journal of INFORMS, 28(1), 87–98. doi:10.1287/mksc.1080.0377