Ads can blur the shady reputation of products

Sydney: Ads can blur the shady reputation of a product with positive imagery, says new research.

For instance, advertising the Chinese origin of a toy can be as successful as saying a watch is “Swiss Made,” if it is marketed in the right way.

Brett Martin, professor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) said consumers can be persuaded to think positively about a ‘low quality’ country.

The trick was to get them to imagine positive thoughts when reading product information, he added.

“This is because getting people to use their imagination weakens the stereotypes people use about goods from different countries,” he said.

His study tested 516 young adults after they viewed product information for digital cameras made in Germany, which is seen as a manufacturer of high quality products, and Poland, which is regarded as a maker of lower quality products.

Measuring their purchase intentions and emotions, the study found that sparking the consumers’ imaginations about Poland created a lasting positive response towards the Polish-made camera which equalled the positive response felt towards the German-made camera.

“These findings form an interesting consideration for marketers,” he said.

“Having a strong country of manufacture can be effective for advertising, but if you get people to imagine how good a supposedly weaker country is, the advantage for the high quality country drops substantially.

“This is because many people form a quick impression when they find out where a product is from, like a T-shirt from Hawaii,” said a QUT release.

Martin said his research meant companies which manufactured their products in countries associated with lower quality should rethink their marketing strategies and not just compete on price.

The research is slated for publication in the Journal of Consumer Behaviour.

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