Reclameclaims worden soms versterkt of afgezwakt door markeerders als ‘in alle gevallen’ of ‘in de meeste gevallen’. Bestaand experimenteel onderzoek naar de overtuigingskracht van markeerders laat uiteenlopende resultaten zien. Het huidige onderzoek probeert deze bevinding te verklaren door de perceptie van versterkende en afzwakkende markeerders in isolatie en in een reclamecontext te meten. Proefpersonen (N = 230) kenden een mate van waarschijnlijkheid toe aan beide markeerders in isolatie en in een reclamecontext (ingebed in een productclaim). De markeerders lijken hun doel niet te dienen: op een 100-puntsschaal scoren afzwakkers 64 (isolatie) of 57 (reclamecontext) en versterkers 78 (isolatie) of 70 (reclamecontext). Met deze scores voor markeerders is het niet vreemd dat de overtuigingskracht van productclaims niet toeneemt wanneer markeerders worden toegevoegd. In een reclamecontext waren, zoals verwacht, de waarschijnlijkheidsinschattingen significant lager dan in isolatie.
- Hornikx, J., & Krommenhoek, N. (2016). De perceptie van afzwakkende en versterkende markeerders in isolatie en in reclamecontext. In D. Van de Mieroop, L. Buysse, R. Coesemans, & P. Gillaerts (Red.), De macht van de taal: Taalbeheersingsonderzoek in Nederland en Vlaanderen (pp. 77-86). Leuven: Acco. [link]
The claim that a product advertisement aims to put forward is usually related to the product benefits. In an abstract way, claims have formats such as ‘Product X has benefit Y’ or ‘Product X leads to benefit Y’. Advertisers do not necessarily express such product claims explicitly. Claims may be left implicit because readers can easily construct them personally. If product claims are expressed explicitly, advertisers sometimes use hedges or pledges, which mark the probability that the promised benefit will occur. A hedge marks a claim as moderately probable (e.g., In most cases), whereas a pledge marks a claim as highly probable (e.g., In all cases). Experimental research to date (see §2) has shown that these probability markers are equally persuasive, and that they are not more persuasive than claims without such markers. Berney-Reddish and Areni (2005) argue that research should examine hedges and pledges in different communication modalities because people have been shown to process information differently in various communication modalities, such as print, audio, and the Internet. The present study therefore compares the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges in advertising claims in print and audio, and examines how these markers are processed in the two communication modalities.
- Neessen, G., & Hornikx, J. (2012). The effect of communication modality on the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges in advertising claims. In Heynderickx, P., Dieltjens, S., Jacobs, G., Gillaerts, P., & Groot, E. de (red.), The language factor in international business: New perspectives on research, teaching and practice (pp. 199-214). Bern: Peter Lang. [pdf upon request]
Claims in advertising may vary in their use of probability markers that signal the degree to which the claim is true. Experimental research has compared hedges (which mark a claim as moderately probable) and pledges (which mark a claim as very probable). This research has generally neglected the proponent of the claims: the brand. There are reasons to believe that the brand behind the advertising affects to what extent people are persuaded by advertising claims. In two studies it was therefore investigated whether the reputation of the brand affects the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges. It was expected that hedges would be more persuasive for low-reputation brands, whereas pledges would be more persuasive for high-reputation brands. This expectation was tested in two experiments. In Study 1, hedges and pledges were compared in an ad that was provided after information about a brand’s reputation. In Study 2, hedges, plegdes and no markers were compared in an ad in which the brand’s reputation was incorporated. Both studies did not find empirical support for the hypothesis. In Study 1, hedges and pledges were found to be equally persuasive; in Study 2, pledges were found to be more persuasive than hedges.
- Hornikx, J. (2012). The effects of hedges and pledges in advertisements for high and low reputation brands. In F. H. van Eemeren & B. Garssen (Red.), Exploring argumentative contexts (pp. 307-319). Amsterdam: Benjamins. [pdf upon request]
Empirical research has demonstrated that variation in standpoint explicitness matters. In several research reports, explicit articulations of a standpoint or conclusion have been compared to more implicit articulations. Meta-analyses of such reports (Cruz, 1998; O’Keefe, 1997, 2002) have shown that messages with explicitly stated standpoints are more persuasive than messages without such standpoints. Such effects were not found for advertising messages, for which the conclusion – buy this product – seems relatively straightforward, regardless of the articulation of the conclusion (Cruz, 1998). There are different ways in which explicit conclusions may be articulated, one of which is the use of probability markers. Advertising research has compared hedges (which mark a standpoint as moderately probable) and pledges (which mark a standpoint as very probable). In this study, it was investigated whether the reputation of the brand affects the persuasiveness of hedges and pledges. Based on a study conducted by Goldberg and Hartwick (1990), it was expected that hedges would be more persuasive for low-reputation brands, whereas pledges would be more persuasive for high-reputation brands. This expectation was put to a test in an experiment.
- Hornikx, J. (2011). Variations of standpoint explicitness in advertising: An experimental study on probability markers. In F. H. van Eemeren, B. Garssen, D. Godden, & G. Mitchell (Eds.), Proceedings of the seventh conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation (pp. 824-830). Amsterdam: Sic Sat. [pdf]