These three studies found support for a process termed hedonic contamination, whereby exposure to advertisements before a movie or television show activates persuasion knowledge, directs attention to the product placements, and reduces consumption enjoyment. Study 1 showed that exposure to in-theater commercials led to more negative attitudes toward product placements in the feature movie and reduced overall enjoyment of the movie. Study 2 implemented an eye-tracking experiment showing that advertising exposure increased eye fixations on product placements in a subsequent television episode. Study 3 identified the activation of persuasion knowledge as the underlying process driving hedonic contamination. The collective results suggest new research directions for understanding the interplay between advertising exposures and how consumers respond to subsequent entertainment content and marketing messages.
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Government, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the Uniformed Services University. This research was supported by Grant T32 AA014125 from the National Institutes of Health to Dale Russell.
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