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An ad that alludes to an event leaves people feeling more positive towards the brand of the product the ad is about and makes them more likely to purchase the product, according to new research from ESSEC Business School.

The study, undertaken by Professor Marc Mazodier at ESSEC, examines how ads tailored to sporting events impact brand attitudes and choices compared to traditional advertising strategies.

Dr. Mazodier and his colleagues conducted four field and lab experiments across three events and 32 ads, and discovered that these effects are driven by the combination of three factors: familiarity with the ad, curiosity, and ‘attribute transfer’ from event to brand (eg: excitement about The Olympics transfers to excitement about the brand/product.)

Whilst most of the previous research into marketing notes the value of consistency and therefore suggests that product category-typical ads should be preferred, this research captures the benefits that come with using event-typical ads. The performance of event-typical ads was found to be superior to all other ads: ads typical of the product category, ads that are typical of both the event and product category and atypical ads.

The research found that when event-typical ads use familiar visuals to be creative and catch people’s attention, like landmarks from big events, such as The Olympics, the ad will remain effective, even if you have very little time to see it.

Dr. Mazodier said “Event-typical ads not only allow marketers to leverage the global following of major international sporting events but also offer fertile ground for creativity.”

This research was published in the Journal of The Academy of Marketing Science.


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