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How playable ads influence consumer attitude: exploring the mediation effects of perceived control and freedom threat

Xiaohan Hu (Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA)
Kevin Wise (Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing

ISSN: 2040-7122

Article publication date: 5 May 2021

Issue publication date: 21 June 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The playable ad is a new type of digital advertising that combines interactivity with gamification. Guided by psychological reactance theory, this study aims to explore the psychological processes and effects of playable ads on consumers’ perceived control and product attitudes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper conducted two experiments to examine the relationship between playable ads, perceived control and product attitude. This paper also applied psychological reactance theory and investigated whether perceived control triggered by the interactive features of playable ads influenced psychological reactance toward them.

Findings

Findings from two experiments show that playable ads, compared to video ads, increased consumers’ perceived control, which, in turn, led to more positive attitudes toward the advertised products (Studies 1 and 2). This study also supports psychological reactance theory by revealing that increased perceived control diminished perceived freedom threat and subsequently alleviated consumers’ psychological reactance toward advertising messages (Study 2).

Originality/value

This study sheds light on the effectiveness of a new type of ad-game integration – playable ads. Different from prior research in gamification of advertising, this paper examined the effectiveness of playable ads in an information processing context in which the ads were not the primary task to focus on. This study also extends psychological reactance theory in the context of interactive marketing by exploring the effect of perceived control afforded by digital message features in mitigating reactance.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector. There is no potential conflict of interest of this research.

The manuscript has not been published elsewhere and that it has not been submitted simultaneously for publication elsewhere.

Citation

Hu, X. and Wise, K. (2021), "How playable ads influence consumer attitude: exploring the mediation effects of perceived control and freedom threat", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 295-315. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-12-2020-0269

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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