The Medium as a Contextual Cue
By Micael Dahlen
"The medium is the message.” It is compelling contextual cues that influence consumers’ perceptions of the advertising message.
Source: Journal of Advertising, Fall 2005, 34(3), pgs.89-98.
Type of Promotional Material/Activity Tested: The impact of the advertising medium (newspaper and new media) on the message.
Sample Population: 589 students at two large colleges
Methodology: Questionnaire using multi-point semantic differential scale to assess whether ads for specific products are impacted by the advertising medium.
- Brand association
- Ad credibility
- Attitude towards ads
Attitude towards brand
- Congruent ads where product is consistent with medium (e.g., insurance company advertised on an egg shell, and an energy drink advertised on an elevator) versus those ads in a “traditional” medium (newspaper) .
Top Line Results:
- Products advertised in congruent media garner a more positive response in terms of brand association, perceived ad credibility, and attitude towards an advertisement or a brand. That is, an insurance agency’s name and slogan printed on an egg results in heightened ad credibility and a more positive brand and ad attitude than the same ad placed on an elevator panel. The egg and the insurance company were perceived to have overlapping associations (e.g., protection, health, and life, necessary, home, practical).
Take-Away: This study bears out the adage that "the medium is the message." It is compelling contextual cues that influence consumers' perceptions of the advertising message.
Complexity rating of original source: 2
(Complex statistical analysis scale: 1= none, 2= moderate, 3 = difficult)
Source: The Medium as a Contextual Clue, Micael Dahlén, Journal of Advertising, Fall 2005, 34(3), pgs.89-98.