The aim of this study is to contribute to previous research by investigating the principle of regulatory congruence in two-sided advertising messages. Additionally, it addresses the underlying mechanisms of the congruence effect.
The study encompasses two experiments: a two-level between-subjects design, manipulating the message’s frame (prevention vs promotion), while measuring respondents’ chronic self-regulatory focus (prevention vs promotion), and a 2 × 2 between-subjects design, manipulating processing depth (central vs peripheral) and message frame (prevention- vs promotion-oriented), while measuring individuals’ chronic self-regulatory focus (prevention vs promotion).
Study 1 shows that in two-sided messages, the effect of regulatory congruence on attitudes toward the message depends on individuals’ self-regulatory focus: a congruence effect was only found in promotion-focused individuals. This congruence effect was driven by processing fluency. The second study builds on the first one by exploring the absence of a congruence effect found in prevention-focused individuals. Its results show that in prevention-focused individuals, processing depth influences regulatory congruence effects in two-sided messages. Under peripheral processing, prevention-focused individuals have more positive attitudes toward the issue when two-sided messages are congruent with their self-regulatory focus. Under central processing, on the other hand, a regulatory incongruence effect on attitudes occurs.
This study complements prior research by examining the validity of the regulatory congruence principle in the context of two-sided messages. Moreover, it addresses the underlying mechanisms driving regulatory (in)congruence effects. As such, our study contributes both to the existing research on two-sided messages and that on regulatory focus.
The authors would like to thank Sara Matthys for her help in the data collection.
Cornelis, E., Cauberghe, V. and De Pelesmacker, P. (2014), "Regulatory congruence effects in two-sided advertising: The mediating role of processing fluency and processing depth", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 48 No. 7/8, pp. 1451-1465. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-02-2012-0094Download as .RIS
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