Kim, S.J., & Hancock, J.T. (2016). How advertorials deactivate advertising schema: MTurk-based experiments to examine persuasion tactics and outcomes in health advertisements. Communication Research, 1 (27).
Advertorials—advertisements camouflaged as editorial material—are a pervasive advertising strategy. Presentational features of advertorials, such as a small or omitted advertisement label and useful information presented in an editorial format prior to promoting a product, are likely to give impressions to readers that the reading material is a useful resource rather than advertising material. We examined the cognitive and persuasive effects of health product–related advertorials based on a schema-laden information processing model framework. Study 1 (n = 337) found that advertorials were less likely to trigger advertising schema, especially consumer awareness of persuasive intent. Study 2 (n = 336) found that the structure presenting useful information before advertising a related product decreased consumer skepticism. Overall, readers exhibited more positive attitudes toward advertorials than they did toward traditional advertisements due to decreased awareness of persuasive intent (Study 1) and advertorials’ structure (Study 2), which, in turn, increased willingness to purchase advertised products.