Gender and Age as Factors Influencing Consumer Responses to Soft-sell Ads – A Multi-country Comparison
Gender role norms for men and women can vary significantly from one culture to the next. A critical question for marketers and advertisers is whether gender differences translate into differences in consumer evaluations of marketing communications. In contrast with the disciplines of psychology and sociology, there has been a significantly more limited examination of sex differences in the area of consumer responses to advertising. The focus of this investigation is to address three key questions: (1) are certain ad appeals more effective with males vs. females? (2) do such preferences vary by culture? (3) are there age-related differences in the perception of soft-sell ads? This research examines gender and age differences in responses toward soft-sell ads in four different cultures. Specifically, it tests whether men and women and older and younger individuals differ in terms of attitude toward the ad, message credibility, irritation experienced, and ultimate purchase intention in the U.S, France, Germany and Italy. With regard to ad appeals, this study focuses specifically on soft-sell appeals (closely related to emotional appeals), which have been employed in advertising messages for more than a century. Soft-sell appeals are often contrasted with hard-sell appeals. Soft-sell appeals employ more visual imagery and are more subtle and ambiguous than hard-sell ones.
KeywordsPurchase Intention Gender Schema Advertising Message Emotional Appeal Gender Role Norm
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