Journal of Advertising Research



INSIGHTS INTO MARKETING COMMUNICATION AT LARGE

The Waste in Advertising Is the Part That Works


TIM  AMBLER  a1 and E. ANN  HOLLIER  a2
a1 London Business School, tambler@london.edu
a2 Cogent Consortium, ann.hollier@insightbb.com

Article author query
ambler t   [Google Scholar] 
hollier ea   [Google Scholar] 
 

Abstract

This study shows that “waste”—the perceived extravagance of an advertisement—contributes to advertising effectiveness by increasing credibility. It draws especially on the “Handicap Principle” in biology: animals use wasteful characteristics to signal their exceptional biological fitness. It hypothesizes that excesses in advertising work in a similar way by signaling “brand fitness.” TV advertisements were evaluated online for perceived advertising expense, message, brand familiarity, quality, reliability, and likelihood of choosing. High perceived advertising expense enhances an advertisement's persuasiveness significantly, but largely indirectly, by strengthening perceptions of brand quality.