Half Full or Half Empty? The Effects of Consumer Outlook on Comparative Advertising

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Is this glass half full, or is it half empty? According to a new study, your response determines how a business should frame comparative advertising.

'This research shows that the effectiveness of positively and negatively framed direct comparative ads depends on differences among consumers (i.e., whether they are prevention or promotion focused). Thus, it underscores some consumer and message considerations that managers need to take into account in executing comparative advertising strategies," the authors write.

Interestingly, prevention-focused people also had a stronger preference for consistency. They tended to favor the brand being advertised over the brand to which it was compared. Prevention-focused people also looked at the comparison brand first, while promotion-focused people evaluated the advertised brand.d

Now we just need some research to tell us whether optimists or pessimists spend more, so that we know which group to target.