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Advertising to reduce meat consumption: positive framing versus negative framing effects on attention

Caitlin Zunckel (School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
Pragasen Pillay (School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
Mark Hamilton Drummond (School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)
David Rosenstein (Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa)

Journal of Social Marketing

ISSN: 2042-6763

Article publication date: 13 September 2023

Issue publication date: 10 November 2023

469

Abstract

Purpose

Due to the paucity of research examining message framing strategies and attention in anti-consumption advertisements, this study aims to determine whether there is a significant difference between the amount of attention paid towards positively and negatively framed advertisements.

Design/methodology/approach

A quasi-experimental study design was conducted with a sample of 56 participants using two different (negatively and positively framed) social marketing print advertisements aimed at encouraging a reduction in meat consumption. The research used eye-tracking to examine attention.

Findings

Findings indicate that the negatively framed advertisement elicited significantly higher levels of attention overall than the positively framed advertisement (p < 0.05). Additionally, participants paid significantly more attention to the headline in the negatively framed advertisement than to the headline in the positively framed advert (p < 0.05). Participants also paid significantly more attention to the tagline in the positively framed advertisement (p < 0.05).

Originality/value

This study provides evidence for the effectiveness of a negative social marketing framing strategy compared to a positive framing strategy – through the effects these strategies had on consumer attention. Positively and negatively framed advertisements produce different typologies of attention towards advertising elements or areas of interest. These findings provide social marketers important insights about message placement and effectiveness when considering whether to use a positively framed or negatively framed advertisement.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research would not have been possible without the funding support provided by Neural Sense and the University of Cape Town for the completion of this research.

Citation

Zunckel, C., Pillay, P., Drummond, M.H. and Rosenstein, D. (2023), "Advertising to reduce meat consumption: positive framing versus negative framing effects on attention", Journal of Social Marketing, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 609-630. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSOCM-03-2023-0062

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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