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An investigation into the advantage of non–verbal measurement of emotion in television advertisements across South African generation
Emotions have become an important research topic in both the behavioural sciences and advertising. Nowadays, emotions are acknowledged as an important mediator of cognitive and behavioural consumer responses to advertising. Consequently, researchers in marketing and advertising have emphasised the need to consider emotions as a crucial factor in the advertising process. To test the viability of this assumption, an empirical research study was conducted at the Behavioural and Communication Research Division of the Bureau of Market Research (BMR). More specifically, the research study used a three–dimensional approach to measure generational differences in consumers’ emotional response to television advertisements. To capture immediate, positive and negative emotive responses towards a pre–selected test advertisement, the study used three research instruments, namely AdSAM, PrEmo (both non–verbal measurement instruments) and the List of Emotions (LoE) (verbal measurement instrument). Gauteng consumers (n = 102) who view television participated in the study, which revealed that ageing appears to be a significant antecedent in measuring emotive response to advertisements. In this regard, the study showed, among others, that Baby Boomers (older generation) were inclined to react to the advertisement in a different manner than younger generations (Millennials and Xers). For example, Baby Boomers found it easier to acknowledge higher levels of engagement with the test advertisement, as was noted in the high Arousal ratings. No significant differences were, however, evident between generations on the Pleasure dimension as all generations seem to have felt positively towards the test advertisement. Furthermore, although all generations felt positive emotive reactions when viewing the test advertisement, Millennials feel more Comfortable, whereas the Xers and Baby Boomers feel stronger Warmed emotions. Overall, older people tend to purposefully seek to experience positive emotions and avoid or limit negative emotions. In summary, both non–verbal and verbal measures reflected generational differences that seem to be more apparent when analysing negative emotions. The study also revealed that the AdSAM instrument appears to be advantageous when measuring emotions in television advertising due to its non–verbal properties. However, greater generational differences seem to be evident when emotions are measured with a verbal rather than non–verbal instrument. Against this background, certain recommendations for future research were made, amongst others, the need for further research on emotive reaction to television advertisements and the need for innovative research models that are customised for the diverse South African consumer market.
- Humanities