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ADVERTISINGS NEW AUDIENCES

Consumer Response in the New Free Market Economies of Central and Eastern Europe
The Case of the Czech Republic
Elena S. Millan and Banwari Mittal
Abstract: This study investigates the structure of consumer beliefs and attitudes toward advertising in a leading-edge,
new market economy of Central and Eastern Europethe Czech Republic. Based on a national sample, Czech consumers
beliefs about advertisings informational value and its role in the nations economy explained their attitudes toward advertising significantly. Our data also revealed five consumer segments ranging from enthusiasts to severe critics. Segments
with unfavorable attitudes saw advertising as being short on information and long on falsity. As such, the studys findings
signal a need to steer the practice of advertising toward more product information, truth, and ethical standards. The first
of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe, the study underscores the need to map consumer attitudes in other Central and
Eastern European nations, and toward that agenda, it provides a framework for measurement of consumer belief profiles
and identification of diverse attitude segments.

Modern advertising practices were introduced in Central and


Eastern European countries relatively recently. Under communist rule, the role of advertising was limited, as consumer
demand for goods outstripped their supply. Moreover, hailed
in the West as a capitalistic virtue, as an engine of free market
economy (Mittal 1994, p. 35), advertising was viewed by
communist rulers as something alien to their system of central
planning. With the transition to a market economy, however,
local and foreign companies alike introduced Western advertising methods to promote their goods, thus fundamentally
changing the advertising landscape.
Today, in Central and Eastern Europe, television programs
are generously interspersed with commercials, glossy magazines show colorful images of celebrities endorsing products,
and billboards flash new brand names and logos. This barrage
of commercial messages constitutes a new life experience for
the newly liberated consumers of the former Soviet bloc. How
are consumers reacting to this flood of commercial messages?
Do they see this new advertising landscape as a good thing,
opening the door to the new marketplace, or instead as an evil
thing, presenting images of a false paradise?
The Czech Republic, the site of the present study, is one
of the most advanced economies in Central and Eastern Europe. The per capita gross domestic product (GDP), based on
purchasing power parity for the Czech Republic, is 24,236

Elena S. Millan (D.Phil., University of Oxford) is a lecturer in


the Department of Food Economics and Marketing, University of
Reading.
Banwari Mittal (Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh) is a professor in
the Department of Marketing, Northern Kentucky University.

at current international dollars (CI$)the second highest


(after Slovenia) in Central and Eastern Europe (average GDP
of CI$14,698) (IMF 2008). It also has the second-highest
human development index (HDI) among the countries from
the region (.903), second to Slovenia (UNDP 2009). There
has been an advertising boom in the Czech Republic since the
start of market reforms, with advertising expenditures rising
to CZK19 billion in 2006, up 217% from 1995, at current
prices (Trends in Advertising Expenditure 2007).
The present study of Czech consumers has three goals. First,
we examine whether Czech consumers, who have been exposed
to free market advertising practices only since 1989, hold a
favorable and welcoming view of advertising, or whether,
instead, they dislike or even oppose advertising. Second, we
seek to understand these attitudes in terms of Czechs beliefs
about advertisingwhat they believe advertising does or does
not do for them. Third, acknowledging that not all consumers
react in the same way to new market phenomena, we seek to
identify distinct attitudinal segments among the Czechs. To
measure these beliefs and attitudes, we use a model developed
in the United States (Pollay and Mittal 1993) and test its
applicability to a new market economy of Central Europe.
Because advertising in this region is still evolving, the need to
understand consumer reactions at a theoretical levelin terms
of the underlying belief structure and its impact on general
attitude toward advertisingis all the more important.

The authors thank Craig Andrews, Professor and the Charles H.


Kellstadt Chair in Marketing at Marquette University, and Jir=
Mike, CEO of the Czech Association of Communication Agencies,
for helpful comments.
Journal of Advertising, vol. 39, no. 3 (Fall 2010), pp. 8198.
2010 American Academy of Advertising. All rights reserved.
ISSN 0091-3367 / 2010 $9.50 + 0.00.
DOI 10.2753/JOA0091-3367390300

82 The Journal of Advertising

ADVERTISING LANDSCAPE
IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Consumer advertising as it is known in the advanced market economies did not exist in the Czech Republic (and in
other Central and Eastern European countries) before 1989.
During the years of central planning, consumer demand
chronically exceeded supply, and consumerist cravings were
held in contempt by the communist regime. Anticonsumerist propaganda was embedded in the ideological discourse
throughout the 1970s and 1980s (Slater 1990). All media
were state-owned, and advertising was allowed mainly to
promote state or cooperative department stores, to inform
consumers about the availability of new types of products,
and to promote cultural and sporting events (C u+ lk 2004).
Under communist rule, a common view held by Czech
consumers was that if a product was advertised, it was in
oversupply and of poor quality (Elliott 1992).
With the end of the socialist system, the advertising landscape changed radically. The advent of market economy accelerated the development of the fledgling Czech advertising
industry. Multinational advertising agencies (e.g., Young&
Rubicam, Leo Burnett Advertising, and Mark BBDO) were
quick to enter the Czech market, often following the entry of
their large international clients. The monopoly of the statecontrolled press, radio, and television was broken, and private
media were established in the 1990s (BBC 2010).
Extant Research on Central and Eastern European
Advertising
Advertising research for the region has been scant and has
focused mainly on counting the ad content in various media.
A few studies have focused on assessing the relative persuasiveness of different appeal types (De Pelsmacker and Geuens
1998; Koudelova and Whitelock 2001; Taylor, Bonner, and
Dolezal 2002; vanHerpen et al. 2000). Directly focusing on
attitudes toward advertising are two studies on Russian consumers, separated by more than a decade. In the first of these
studies, Andrews, Durvasula, and Netemeyer (1994) found
that Russian consumers held a more positive overall attitude
toward advertising than U.S. consumers (5.92 versus 5.36 on
a seven-point scale). Back then, Russian society had barely
begun its move toward a market economy, and consumers
were understandably welcoming of the new tools of marketing, including advertising. But in the latter of the two studies
(Wells, Van Auken, and Ritchie 2007), Russian attitudes had
turned more negative (mean 3.9 on the seven-point bad-good
scale). These findings are in line with Pierces (1971) argument that consumer attitudes toward advertising become
more negative as a country moves from an underdeveloped
to a developing to a developed economy stage, a theme cor-

roborated by LaFerle and Lee (2002), who found consumer


attitudes in China (a country with low economic development)
to be more positive than U.S. attitudes. For Russia, the reason
for the deteriorating consumer ad attitudes seems to be the
unmet expectations of the middle class (Wells and VanAuken
2006; Wells, VanAuken, and Ritchie 2007).
One recent study, focused on the Czech Republic, examined
the perceived role of advertising in consumer decision making
and found that Czech consumers viewed advertising to be an
unimportant factor in their clothing purchases (Millan 2008).
Beyond these empirical studies, some writers report, anecdotally, on the prevalent reactions in these new economies. It has
been observed for Hungary, for example, that as advertising
expenditures soared, consumers have learned to watch but
not always believe what they see (Beck 1999, p.14). Observations such as these underscore the need to empirically
assess and understand attitudes toward and beliefs about the
role of advertising in Central and Eastern Europeans lives as
consumers.
THEORY
Models of Consumer Beliefs and Attitudes Toward
Advertising
Attitude toward advertising has been defined as a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable
manner to advertising in general (MacKenzie and Lutz 1989,
pp.5354). Extant marketing literature makes a distinction
between attitudes and beliefs. Whereas attitudes refer to consumers overall evaluation of and affection for an object, beliefs
link an object to specific attributes (Ajzen and Fishbein 1980;
Andrews, Durvasula, and Netemeyer 1994). A key task is to
measure these beliefs.
Two measures of ad beliefs have been prevalent in the literature. The first, advanced by Bauer and Greyser (1968), is a
two-dimensional measure of advertising beliefs, tapping into
the social and economic effects of advertising. The second,
proposed by Sandage and Leckenby (1980), is also a two-factor
measure, tapping into the consumer view of advertising as an
institution and as an instrument. While both measures have been
employed in subsequent studies, the former has spawned an
expanded model of advertising beliefs, by Pollay and Mittal
(1993), described below.
Building on the work of Bauer and Greyser (1968) and
others, Pollay and Mittal (1993) developed a more comprehensive model of consumer advertising beliefs, consisting of
seven belief factors. Three of these capture personal benefits
of advertising: advertising provides product information, offers social image associations, and gives hedonic pleasure (i.e.,
entertains). Four are related to societal consequences, one of
which is positive (namely, that advertising is good for the

Fall 2010 83

FIGURE 1
The Seven Belief Factor Model of Consumer Attitudes Toward Advertising

economy) and three are negative (namely, that it spreads materialism, corrupts our values, and promotes falsity/no sense). In
various factor analyses, Pollay and Mittal found the measures
to, by and large, cohere and load on their intended factors.
They also found that the three personal factors were mutually
distinct; however, among the four societal factors, materialism
and value corruption merged into a single factor, yielding a
six-factor belief model. Thus, of interest to the present study
is the question of whether the original or a modified factor
structure holds in the Czech context; in particular, whether
Czech consumers also distinguish the personal benefits of advertising from its societal consequences. Pollay and Mittals
conceptual model is shown in Figure1 and is used here to
frame our own measurement and analyses.
Czech Advertising Beliefs and Attitudes:
Hypotheses Development
Attitude Toward Advertising
Czech attitudes toward advertising have to be understood
against the backdrop of their attitudes toward the market
reforms per se. At the onset of market economy, consumer
attitudes toward both the market and advertising were likely
to have been positive. Although communist propaganda had
labeled everything in the West bad, people believed the opposite and were therefore eager to embrace everything from
the West, especially the consumerist aspects of life (C u+ lk
1995). Vclav Klaus, prime minister of the Czech Republic
from 1992 to 1997, was eager to bring accelerated economic
prosperity by propagating the ideology of free market commercialism: Business is what matters and morals are irrelevant
in business, where the market principles rule (quoted in
Hraba 2001). The launch of market reforms might have led

to initial enthusiasm, but the ensuing harsh economic reality


of unfulfilled hopes might have led consumers to withhold
their enthusiasm or even lose it.
With the introduction of the market model of economic
development, employment opportunities shifted dramatically
from agriculture and rural sectors to urban and services sectors
(i.e., from the working to the professional class), creating a
growing base of an economically insecure population. Aggregate unemployment rates averaged 2.5% between 1991
and 1996, but rose to 9.9% in 2004, and remained relatively
high at 6.8% in 2008 (Czech Government Report 2008).
Scholars have argued that economic hardships produce a loss
of peoples trust in democracy and free markets (Rose and
Haerpfer 1998). Five national surveys conducted by the Czech
Academy of Sciences between 1991 and 1998 confirmed that
average promarket support declined continually after 1992
(Hraba 2001). Since advertising is the most visible tool of
marketing, we expect this declining support to also affect
consumer attitudes toward advertising.
Thus, we believe that two opposite sociopolitical factors
will determine Czech attitudes toward advertising. On the
one hand, Czech consumers will see advertising as an agent of
the new liberal economy, opening the gates to a marketplace
of new goods hitherto unavailable under the era of a centrally
planned economy. On the other hand, having witnessed decades of propaganda under communist rule, Czech consumers
may be expected to harbor skepticism toward all advertising,
new or old, foreign or domestic. Moreover, with economic
hardship experienced by a large portion of the population,
initial consumer enthusiasm for the free market economy is
likely to have begun to sour. Advertising sells a new way of
life, but as long as the desired goods remain out of the reach
of many consumers, advertising is likely to feed social tensions and frustrations (Slater 1990). These two contradictory

84 The Journal of Advertising

influences suggest that overall Czech consumer attitudes toward advertising will be in the middle, neither very positive
nor very negative. Thus,
H1: Czech consumers attitudes toward advertising will be, on
average, in the middle range.
Advertising Beliefs Structure
An important question relating to the advertising belief structure is whether the seven belief factors proposed by Pollay and
Mittal (1993) will emerge as independent beliefs for Czech
consumers. Underlying the presence of the seven-factor structure of ad beliefs is the assumption that consumers are able
to process ad messages analytically, paying attention to and
reflecting on their multiple facets. This assumption is likely
to be less reflective of Czech consumers for two reasons: main
motivational focus on functional benefits, as opposed to symbolic benefits, and lack of prior cognitive framework to process
symbolic elements of commercial messages. First, the tradeoff between serving a functional need and a symbolic need is
likely to be less salient to consumers in still-evolving market
economies. Several years into the transition to capitalism,
consumer behavior in these economies is still influenced by the
relatively low (compared with Western standards) consumer
purchasing power. As some prior related research has shown
(e.g., Hill and Gaines 2007), low purchasing power keeps
consumers motivated to appraise products for their core functional benefits rather than to aspire for any symbolic benefits.
Anticonsumerist sentiments and cultural values embedded
in pre-1989 conditions such as thrift, moderation, frugality,
and contentment with a simple way of living are also likely
to keep subdued peoples interest in symbolic consumption
(see Belk 1988; Hovet, Gosling, and Mudranincova 2005).
Accordingly, the distinction between information and social
role/image beliefs is less likely to be present in the salient
choice criteria of Czech consumers.
Second, when exposed to a new product (and commercial
messages about it), the audience attention tends to focus,
naturally, on the core form and benefits of the stimulus, to the
exclusion of symbolic trappings. According to prior research
in semiotics (symbolic elements of a stimulus), discerning and
interpreting these symbolic elements require prior cognitive
learning, which comes with prior exposures to those signs in
those specific contexts (Mick 1986). It has been suggested that
consumers in these new economies lack sufficient knowledge
of the foreign brands heritage, and, consequently, they tend
to put their trust in the product and not the brand and the
images that come with it (Crain 2006; Keller and Moorthi
2003). In effect then, on the whole, Czech consumers are likely
to lack both the motivation (no pressing need yet for symbolic
benefits) and the ability (i.e., lack of the necessary prior cogni-

tive framework) to discern and decode the symbolic messages


in advertising. Therefore,
H2a: Czech consumers are likely not to discriminate between
the informational benefits and the social role and image aspects
of advertising.
Similar lack of discrimination is likely to be found between
the materialism and value corruption factors. These two
belief factors were not discriminated even in the benchmark
U.S. study of Pollay and Mittal (1993) as well as in other
U.S. studies (e.g., Korgaonkar, Karson, and Akaah 1997).
Indeed, different social effects of advertising have not been
distinguished in a large body of early as well as more recent
research (e.g., Dvila and Rojas-Mndez 2001; Durvasula,
Lysonski, and Mehta 1999; Greyser and Bauer 1966; La Ferle
and Lee 2002; Larkin 1977). Given the relatively early stage
in Czechs experience with and exposure to modern advertising
(which leads to less analytical processing), and the absence of a
wide public debate on the possible adverse societal influences
of the market-based advertising methods and practices, lack
of separation between the negative effects of materialism and
value corruption is likely to prevail among Czech consumers.
Therefore,
H2b: Czech consumers are likely not to discriminate between
the materialism and value corruption factors.
It has been suggested that the Czechs notorious pessimism
may be behind their general skepticism toward brand claims
(Taylor, Bonner, and Dolezal 2002). Thus, Czech consumers
would be especially adept at discerning the falsity effects of
advertising. Another characteristic of the Czech nation is its
vejk-like sense of humor, cultivated during the historical
discontinuities the country has lived through, which helped
the nation to survive hundreds of years of foreign domination
(Brodsk 2000). In light of this fact, it is not surprising that
Czechs appear to be appreciative of the entertainment value
of advertising (Taylor, Bonner, and Dolezal 2002). As to the
good-for-the-economy factor, the very idea of an emerging market economy is that the Western-style abundant availability
of goods brings economic prosperity to nations and people.
Long yearning for the fruits of the free market economy, Czechs
are unlikely to discard this belief now that the free market
economy along with its most visible instrument (namely,
advertising) is before them. Therefore,
H2c: Czech consumers will recognize hedonic value as a distinct
belief factor.
H2d: Czech consumers will recognize falsity/no sense as a
distinct belief factor.
H2e: Czech consumers will recognize good-for-the-economy as
a distinct belief factor.

Fall 2010 85

The Role of Beliefs in Explaining Attitude Toward Advertising


Regarding the role of the seven belief factors in explaining
consumers overall attitude toward advertising, our expectations are as follows. Czech consumers, who are relatively new
to Western-style advertising and, in fact, to the market-based
economic system, are likely to be interested in the newly available products and in understanding their features and benefits.
Thus, the information content of advertising will be seen as
fulfilling their need for product information. Congruent with
the findings of previous studies (e.g., Petrovici and Marinov
2007; Shavitt, Lowrey, and Haefner 1998), we expect the Czech
consumers perception of the informativeness of advertising to
contribute positively to their overall attitude toward advertising. In the Czech context, however, we expect the product
information factor not only to be a contributor, but to be the
dominant factor. This is because most consumers facing a new
marketplace and a new array of products are likely, first and
foremost, to desire to understand those products and, accordingly, to extract from advertising objective information about
the promoted products. This logic is in line with the existing
empirical evidence that the Czechs tend to use commercials
primarily for gaining product-related knowledge.
Next, the three societal factors (falsity, materialism, and
value corruption) are likely to make consumer attitudes toward
advertising less favorable. First, if advertisements are seen as
false or nonsensical, this perceived falsity is likely to frustrate
consumers desire to learn about products and is therefore
going to produce a dislike of advertising. Likewise, because
Czechs are still less affluent compared to consumers in Western
countries, they tend to be largely focused on finding inexpensive or value-for-money products rather than luxury goods.
Limited disposable incomes, uncertainties about individual
financial situations, anticonsumerist outlooks fed by years
of communist propaganda, and past experiences with shortages and unsophisticated lifestyles all intermingle in shaping
the mind-set of contemporary Czech consumers (see Hovet,
Mudranincov, and Vykoukal 2004). Therefore, advertisements that are seen to promote indulgence and materialism are
likely to add to their frustration. Hence, falsity, materialism,
and value corruption dimensions are likely to affect consumers
overall attitudes negatively, with their influence only next to
the positive influence of information value. Therefore,
H3a: The product information factor will be the strongest
predictor among all belief factors in explaining Czechs overall
attitude toward advertising.
H3b: The falsity, materialism, and value corruption factors
will collectively explain a significant portion of variance in
Czechs overall attitude toward advertising.
The influence of the social image factor is likely to be subsumed in the role of the product information factor. This is

because the social image factor may not be discerned (as per
H2a), which is a necessary condition for any factor to play a
role in subsequent attitude formation. If discriminated, its role
is likely to be less important, especially compared to the role
of product information. This notion derives from the greater
relevance of product information (than the social role and imagery) to the Czech, and for that matter Central and Eastern
European, consumers, which is underpinned by several factors
such as the influx of previously unknown products and brands,
the relatively limited exposure to commercial advertising,
and the general lack of previous experiences with decoding
ad messages and playing with brand and lifestyle imagery, as
well as the still greater importance of the product than the
brand. Also relevant here is the role of uncertainty avoidance as
a cultural trait. The high uncertainty avoidance tendencies fed
by the socialist policies and practices and the financial, health,
and other risks associated with purchasing unknown products
may also play a role. It has been argued that, motivated by risk
aversion and problem solving, consumers in high uncertainty
avoidance cultures, among which the Czech Republic (see
Hofstede 2001) ranks high, may exhibit a stronger preference
for tangible product attributes, since the tangible attributes
can unambiguously solve or prevent a problem (see Millan,
DePelsmacker, and Wright 2010).
As to the role of the hedonic factor, it is likely to be positive
and substantial, independent of the role of the other factors.
Whereas the role of humor on brand attitude is more complex,
being contingent on factors such as prior brand attitude and
congruence with the brand message (see Chattopadhyay and
Basu 1990), its role in inducing positive mood and likability
for the source is affirmed by prior research (e.g., De Pelsmacker
and Geuens 1998; Duncan and Nelson 1985; Moran 1996;
Weinberger and Gulas 1992). Sources include the specific
humor-enactor in the ad as well as the ad itself, and indeed,
in the body of literature on this topic, the hedonic factors
positive link to general attitudes toward advertising is nearly
universal (e.g., Shavitt, Lowrey, and Haefner 1998). This logic
alongside Taylor, Bonner, and Dolezals finding that humor
and clever creative approaches are a very important aspect of
advertising in the Czech Republic (2002, p.143) suggests
that if advertising is seen as entertaining, the humor-loving
Czechs are likely to be more favorably inclined toward it.
Finally, we expect the good-for-the-economy factor to have
a weak effect on Czechs overall attitude toward advertising.
We expect Czech consumers to recognize this effect because a
better economy is the very raison dtre for why consumers
in controlled polity have been eager for liberation; accordingly, the link of the Western-style marketing (and its visible
instrument, advertising) to ensuing economic benefits to society is likely to be grasped by these consumers. However, the
personal benefits of a products use are ostensibly presented in
most ads, whereas societal benefits are not. The latter require

86 The Journal of Advertising

inference making about the macro effects of advertising,


and such inferences are less accessible to lay consumers (e.g.,
Simmons and Johar 1994). New to the immensely expanded
world of goods in the new market economy, Czech consumers
are likely to be mostly preoccupied with contemplating and
assessing products for their own consumption, while giving
less thought to the advertisings effect, or lack of it, on the
national economy. Therefore,
H3c: In explaining Czech consumers attitudes toward advertising, the social role and image factor will play a significantly
lesser role than the information factor.
H3d: The hedonic factor will significantly explain Czech
consumers attitudes toward advertising.
H3e: The good-for-the-economy factor will significantly explain
Czech consumers attitudes toward advertising, though to a
lesser extent than will the information factor.
Attitudinal Segments in the Population
As is true of any society, Czech society is hardly uniform. Across
the population, income, educational levels, and age structures
differ, as do traditional/modern value orientation and outlook
toward westernization of the economy. Naturally, some Czechs
are open and welcoming of the new economy and its attendant
marketing activities. For others, the market reforms are threatening their well-being, and they are anxious and skeptical, if
not hostile. Accordingly, we expect the existence of consumer
segments that will range from supportive to critical, as well
as some with ambivalent belief profiles. Such segments were
found in prior studies in the United States (Korgaonkar,
Karson, and Akaah 1997; Pollay and Mittal 1993). In the
present study, we seek to identify these consumer segments.
We also seek to examine whether and how age, income, and
other demographics might be associated with Czechs view
of advertising.
METHOD
Sample
The present study was designed as a cross-sectional survey of
consumers in the Czech Republic. The questionnaire, designed
for this study, was incorporated in a regular omnibus study by
an international market research agency. The agency secures
nationwide coverage through a quota sampling procedure,
with region, size of residence, gender, age, and education used
as quota controls. Some 100 field investigators conducted faceto-face interviewsmarking consumers verbal responses on
paper questionnairesat the respondents premises in both
urban and rural areas. Five hundred forty-one interviews were
conducted, of which 26 had missing data, yielding 515 us-

able questionnaires. The demographic profile of the sample


matches closely that of the studied national population. The
respondents age ranged between 15 and 69 years (M=39
years). Male and female respondents were nearly equally represented in the sample (49.1% and 50.9%, respectively; the
national proportion for males is 49.9%). Nineteen percent
had completed primary education, 39.8% vocational, 32.4%
secondary, and only 8.7% college/university education (differences with national education statistics ranged between
1.2% and 1.8%). Regarding age, people ages 3039 were
slightly overrepresented (difference 3.5%), and people ages
6069 were slightly underrepresented (difference 3.4%) in
the sample.
Questionnaire
Pollay and Mittals model was used as the measurement framework for the present study. The measures of all belief types
employed by Pollay and Mittal were included (scales shown
in Table1). Global attitudes were captured with two items:
Overall, I consider advertising a good thing and My general
opinion of advertising is unfavorable (reverse scored). All
responses were obtained on five-point strongly disagree(1)/
strongly agree(5) Likert scales. Demographic information
on the respondents sex, age, education, household income,
and size of residence was also collected. The questionnaire
was prepared in English and validated by a back-translation
(English to Czech to English) procedure, as prescribed by
Brislin (1970).
RESULTS
Advertising Beliefs and Attitudes Profile
Table 1 presents belief and global attitude scores for the sample
as a whole. This table also reports Cronbachs a reliabilities,
three of which (out of the total of seven reported) are below the
desired value of .70 (.49, .66, and .66). Although these values
are comparable to those in the Pollay and Mittal (1993) study
(their lowest is .47), readers should note the less-than-desirable
reliabilities for some of the measured beliefs. Standard deviations of all belief items show sufficient heterogeneity among
respondent beliefs. Also, the data show that all the belief
factors received mid-range mean ratings (range 2.373.70).
Based on a one-sample ttest, the mean of global advertising
attitude (which is 2.82) was found to be significantly different
from a mean of 2 (t=17.32, p<0.001, twotailed), as well
as a mean of 4 (t=25.10, p<0.001, twotailed). Thus, H1
was supported.
To identify the factor structure of measured beliefs, we
estimated a series of models via confirmatory factor analyses
(CFA), using Amos 16 software. We first used a split-half

Fall 2010 87

cross-validation procedure for all CFA analyses; because we


obtained identical results for the two split-halves, we chose to
merge back the two split-halves and rerun all the CFAs for the
entire sample. We began the CFA procedures (on split-halves
and then on the entire sample) with a seven-factor model as
originally proposed by Pollay and Mittal; but to successfully
estimate it, we needed to merge materialism and value corruption and also, based on modification indices and theoretical
rationale, to free one cross loading (see the rationale in the Appendix). The final six-factor model we successfully estimated
had a satisfactory fit to data: 2(173) = 467.94 (p < 0.001),
CMIN/DF=2.70, goodness-of-fit index (GFI)=.920, adjusted goodness-of-fit index (AGFI)=.893, standardized root
mean square residual (RMR)=.055, comparative fit index
(CFI)=.914, and root mean square error of approximation
(RMSEA)=.058. All factor loadings were significant at the
.05 level.
Correlations among factors, estimated from this CFA and
presented in Table 2, show a pattern of high values (above
.65) among the three personal benefit factors and, likewise,
among the two negative societal consequences (.82); in
comparison, and as would be expected, the cross correlations
among the two sets of factors are much lower (.28 to .58,
see the rectangle). The highest correlation (.95) is among the
product information and social image factors. The pattern
of correlations (conversely, discrimination) among factors is
the subject of our hypotheses and is therefore examined more
formally below.
We used the six-factor model (Model1) as the basis to test
our hypotheses about factor discrimination. To test H2a, we
merged the two factors: product information and social image.
The resulting five-factor model (Model2) had a satisfactory fit
in terms of GFI, AGFI, standardized RMR, CFI, and RMSEA
statistics, but the c2 difference test (2(5)=22.29, p<.001)
showed this model to be inferior to Model1.
To continue our test, we next estimated a new measurement model with only these two belief factors, running both
a separate- and a merged-factors version. The overall fits of
the two versions were, respectively, 2(8)=9.97 (p=.27) and
2(9)=12.77 (p=.17), indicating a marginally superior fit
for the merged-factors model. Of the two tests, the latter is
unaffected by the presence of other factors and is, therefore,
a better indicator of the factor discrimination. Considering
both tests together, we found some support for H2a, though
marginal at best.
To test H2b, we separated in the base model the materialism and value corruption factors. This model (Model3) failed
to be estimated as the solution was inadmissible. Therefore,
separating materialism and value corruption makes the model
misspecified, which provides support for H2b. This support was also confirmed when only these two belief factors
were included in the model. Specifically, c2 values for the

TABLE 1
Czech Consumers Beliefs About Advertising
Beliefs about advertising

SD

Product information (.66)


1. Informs about brand features
2. Keeps me up-to-date
3. Provides valuable information

2.83
2.83
2.63
3.03

.84
1.06
1.07
1.13

Social role and image (.77)


4. What others are buying
5. Tells me what is in fashion
6. What would reflect me

2.48
2.54
2.51
2.37

.88
1.07
1.10
1.03

Hedonic/pleasure (.73)
7. More enjoyable than other
8. Amusing and entertaining
9. Take pleasure in recalling

3.01
3.13
3.23
2.68

.93
1.17
1.09
1.20

Good-for-the-economy (.49)
10. Helps economy
11. Not wasteful of economic resources*

2.67
2.73
2.62

.93
1.14
1.14

Materialism (.67)
12. Makes ours a materialistic society
13. Buy things not needed
14. Persuades . . . should not buy
15. Overspend . . . show off
16. Induces living in fantasy

3.35
3.40
3.70
3.47
3.09
3.09

.70
1.09
1.02
1.05
1.11
1.10

Value corruption (.56)


17. Distorts values of youth
18. Promotes undesirable values in society

3.08
3.21
2.95

.86
1.07
1.01

Falsity/no sense (.66)


19. Misleading
20. Insults intelligence
21. Presents a true picture of goods

3.27
3.13
3.03
3.64

.83
1.06
1.13
1.03

Advertising attitude (.78)


Advertising is a good thing
Favorable opinion of advertising

2.82
2.83
2.80

1.07
1.15
1.22

Notes: On the survey form, the items were presented in a jumbled


order. All items were measured on five-point strongly disagree/strongly
agree scales; higher mean scores indicate stronger agreement with the
statement. Numbers in parentheses are Cronbachs as.
* This item was originally worded as advertising is wasteful of
resources and was later reverse coded.

separate- versus merged-factors models were, respectively,


2(13)=14.97 (p=.31) and 2(14)=18.68 (p=.18); accordingly, 2(1)=3.71, p<.05.
Next, we tested for the discrimination of the hedonic factor
from product information and, separately, from social image.
Starting with the base model, we merged the hedonic and
product information factors (Model4a) and found the fit worsened in the merged-factor model with a significantly poorer c2
difference (2(5)=100.87, p<.001), indicating a better fit
of the baseline model. Likewise, merging the hedonic factor
with the social image factor (Model4b) also gave a poorer fit

88 The Journal of Advertising


TABLE 2
Correlations Among the Six Advertising Belief Factors (Based on CFA)
Advertising belief
factors

Product
information

Social role
and image

Hedonic/
Pleasure

Good for the


economy

Product information
Social role and image
Hedonic/pleasure
Good for the economy
Materialism/value corruption

1
.95
.77
.86
.43

1
.65
.76
.30

1
.75
.28

1
.73

Falsity/no sense
Item loadings*

.58
.72, .70, .48

.46
.77, .69, .72

.49
.66, .67, .74

.87
.54, .60

Materialism/
value
corruption

Falsity/
no sense

1.0
0.82
.51, .49, .60, .57,
.44, .57, .64

1.0
.73, .70, .12,
(.60)

Notes: For falsity/no sense, .60 is cross-loading of the third item on product information.
* Item sequence corresponds to that shown in Table 1.

(2(5)=127.43, p<.001). Thus, the distinctiveness of the


hedonic factor (H2c) was supported.
Next, to test whether falsity was discriminated from
materialism/value corruption, we merged the two factors
(Model5a). However, Model5a proved considerably inferior to
the base model, as judged by the c2 difference (2(5)=54.21,
p<.001). Thus, falsity was discriminated from the materialism/value corruption factor, providing support forH2d.
We performed one more test of discrimination. Because
falsity could reflect (negatively) as well the information benefit
of advertising, we merged falsity with product information
(Model5b). The fit of Model5b was considerably worse than
that of the baseline model (2(6)=207.48, p<.001). Thus,
H2d was further supported.
Next, to test whether the societal benefit of good-for-theeconomy was discriminated from other factors, we merged this
factor with the similarly beneficial personal factor of product
information (Model6a); next, and in a separate analysis, we
merged it with materialism/value corruption (Model 6b);
and, yet again, we merged it with falsity (Model 6c). In all of
these subanalyses, the base model was superior. Specifically,
the c2 differences for Models6a, 6b, and 6c were, respectively,
2(5) = 41.71(p < .001), 2(5) = 106.92 (p < .001), and
2(5)=33.63 (p<.001). These tests showed the discrimination of the good-for-the-economy factor from all the other
factors. Thus, H2e was supported.
In sum, all the belief factors were discriminated from one another except materialism and value corruption (already merged
in the baseline model) and, separately, the product information
and social image factors, for which we found some support in
favor of the merger. Because this latter support was mixed and
weak, we deem the baseline model (Model1) to represent the
best-fitting model and use it in the subsequent analyses. It is

noteworthy that this model resembles entirely (except for one


item cross loading) the revised Pollay and Mittal model.
The Role of Beliefs in Explaining Attitude
Toward Advertising
To test H3aH3e, we ran a structural equations model (SEM)
with the six belief factors from the CFA used as predictor (exogenous) variables and the overall attitude toward advertising
used as an endogenous variable (see Table3, RegressionA).
The six belief factors together explained 87% of the variance
in global attitude. The standardized regression coefficient
of the product information factor was the highest (.697).
Although this result indicates support for H3a, the b coefficient of social role and image is negative (.248), whereas
the bi-serial correlation between global attitude and social
role and image is positive (.86). The negative b coefficient
reflects a suppressor effect, a result of the high interfactor
correlation between product information and social role and
image (f=.95). Therefore, we reran the structural model with
product information and social role and image factors merged
(see Table3, RegressionB). The revised model is shown in
Figure2. The five predictors explained 85.4% of the variance
in global attitude. The b coefficient of the merged factor,
termed here personal usefulness, was the second highest (.434)
after the good-for-the-economy factor (.570); accordingly, H3a
was not supported.
Because good-for-the-economy and overall attitude were
relatively highly correlated (r=.63), we repeated the above
analyses with good-for-the-economy excluded from the list of
predictors (see Table3, RegressionC). The remaining predictors still explained considerable variance (73.6%) in overall
attitude, and all of them were significant. In this regression,

Fall 2010 89
TABLE 3
Regression of Advertising Beliefs Factors on Global Attitude ( Coefficients)

Predictors
Product information
Social role and image
Hedonic/pleasure
Materialism/value corruption
Falsity/no sense
Good for the economy
Variance explained

Regression A

.697
.248
.403
.282
.285
.571

Regression B
p

.073
.519
.000
.000
.000
.000

87%


.434*
.412
.290
.294
.570

Regression C
p

.000
.000
.000
.000
.000

85.4%


.513*
.452
.354
.380

p
.000
.000
.000
.000

73.6%

* b coefficients of the merged personal usefulness factor (comprising product information and social role and image factors).

as hypothesized, personal usefulness had the highest b coefficient (.513).


Next, to test H3b, we ran two new structural submodels,
both with advertising attitude as an endogenous variable:
product information was the exogenous variable in one of
the submodels, whereas the materialism/value corruption
and falsity factors served as exogenous variables in the other
submodel. The variance explained by product information
alone was 62.7%. In comparison, the variance explained
by the materialism/value corruption and falsity factors was
55.3%, which is noticeably less than the former. Thus, H3b
was supported.
To test H3c, we ran a single-predictor structural model with
advertising attitude as the endogenous variable and social role
and image as the exogenous variable. The variance explained
by the social role and image factor alone was 45%, which is
significantly smaller than that explained by product information (62.7%); thus, support for H3c was found. As to H3d,
Table3 shows the hedonic factor to be a significant predictor
of global attitude even when other copredictors are included in
the model. Thus, H3d was supported. Table3 (RegressionB)
also shows the good-for-the-economy factor to be a significant
predictor; moreover, with other copredictors in the model, its
b coefficient is the highest (.570), thus disproving H3e.
Identifying Consumer Segments Based
on Advertising Beliefs
To uncover subpopulation variations in consumer perceptions
of advertising, the six belief factors (computed as composites
by averaging the constituent items) were subjected to cluster
analysis using a two-stage procedure. In the first stage, we
conducted hierarchical clustering with Wards algorithm and
squared Euclidean distance measure of similarity. A five-cluster
solution was selected on the basis of the dendogram and the
distinct changes in fusion coefficients. In the second stage, we

performed a Kmeans cluster analysis using the centroid-centers


derived from Wards method as starting values for the analysis.
We used this two-stage procedure on two split-half samples
in a calibration and then validation sequence, and we found
very close correspondence between the cluster solutions on the
two split-half samples. Specifically, the correlations between the
cluster centroids of the two samples ranged between .84 and
.99, and the corresponding clusters of each sample contained
similar numbers of cases. This procedure attested to the stability of the cluster solutions; and as the two split-half cluster
profiles resembled each other closely, we next chose to pool back
the data and run the same two-stage procedure on the entire
sample. A five-cluster solution was selected. Comparing Wards
and Kmeans cluster solutions revealed that 83.7% of the cases
were allocated to the same cluster by both algorithms, and the
correlations between the corresponding cluster centroids were
approaching 1. We used ANOVA (analysis of variance) as a
test of criterion validity, and it revealed that the differences
among the five clusters on attitude toward advertising were
statistically significant (F=136.88, p<.001).
The clusters for the entire sample are presented in Table4,
arranged from the most favorable to the most unfavorable
global attitude, and are named (the sample proportions in
parentheses) enthusiasts (22.9%), ambivalent (29.3%), unbothered
(14.8%), conflicted (21.9%), and severe critics (11.1%).
The enthusiast segment holds the most favorable attitude
toward advertising (M=3.83), believing that advertising gives
them personally useful information about the marketplace
(including fashion trends) and finding it personally enjoyable.
At the societal level, they perceive advertising to be good for
the economy and to have no negative consequences. In effect,
this segment is supportive and welcoming of advertising.
The ambivalent segment is the largest in size (29.3%),
comprising people who hold a neutral attitude toward advertising (M=3.06). They score in the middle on the product
information and social role and image factors, but they see

90 The Journal of Advertising

FIGURE 2
Estimated Model of Advertising Beliefs and Attitudes

Note: Item numbers refer to those in Table 1. The scores of item 11 are reversed.

advertising as spreading, to some extent, materialism and


value corruption as well as false information; however, they
do not seem to consider these as serious demerits, or at least
not so serious as to neutralize the positive entertainment value

of advertising, which apparently keeps them pro-advertising,


even if only marginally.
The third segment, called unbothered, holds a nearly neutral
attitude (M = 2.84), seeing no personal use in advertising

Fall 2010 91
TABLE 4
Consumer Segments by Attitudes Toward Advertising


Variables

Segments
Enthusiasts
(n = 118)

Ambivalent
(n = 151)

Unbothered
(n = 76)

Conflicted
(n = 113)

Severe critics
(n = 57)

Global attitude*

3.83

3.06

2.84

2.18

1.32

Product information
Social role and image
Hedonic/pleasure
Good for the economy
Materialism/value corruption
Falsity/no sense

3.51
3.26
3.73
3.55
2.80
2.07

3.02
3.03
3.29
2.79
3.35
3.26

2.44
1.81
2.49
2.90
2.84
2.44

2.20
1.91
3.00
2.09
3.68
3.71

1.64
1.39
1.49
1.40
3.82
4.31

Percent of whole sample

22.9

29.3

14.8

21.9

11.1

* Segments are based only on the six belief categories. Global attitude was not used in cluster analysis.

(product information and social trends information) or finding any amusement/entertainment value. Furthermore, they
feel neutral about the role of advertising for the economy
(M=2.90) and do not view advertising as having significant
negative societal effects either (M=2.84 for materialism/value
corruption, and M=2.44 for falsity/no sense).
The conflicted segment views advertising as an amalgam
of bad and perhaps some good. With overall negative attitude
(M=2.18), its constituents do not perceive advertising to be
a useful provider of marketplace information or to bring any
value to the economy either. Instead, they tend to see it as
promoting materialism and corrupting values (M=3.68) and
advancing falsity/no sense as well (M=3.71). However, they
do find advertising somewhat entertaining.
The last segment, severe critics, does not see any personal
benefits of advertising, with scores on the product information,
social role and image, and hedonic/pleasure factors being the
lowest of all the segments. Its members do not see any benefit
to the economy either. And they see advertising as a source of
the two ills studied here, with their scores on the materialism/
value corruption and falsity/no sense factors being the highest
of all segments. Accordingly, their global advertising attitude
is the most unfavorable (M=1.32).
The Demographics of Consumer Attitudes
Toward Advertising
We cross-tabulated the proportion of the two extreme segments
with consumer demographics (see Table5). Contrasting the
two segments, the enthusiasts were found to be significantly
younger (2(1)=7.67, p<.01), with lower levels of education
(2(1)=5.27, p<.05), and to be living in larger settlements
(2(4)=11.71, p<.05) than the severe critics. As to income,
the c2 value across the four income groups was not significant.

However, subgroup analysis showed the lowest income group


to differ significantly from the other income groups; specifically, the supportive segment came disproportionately more
from the lowest income group.
DISCUSSION
Overview of Findings
As expected, Czech consumers global attitudes toward advertising were found, on average, to be in the middle range (H1a
supported). This average picture was a composite, however,
of considerable diversity within, comprising five segments
enthusiasts and severe critics at the two ends, and ambivalents,
unbothereds, and conflicteds in between.
Of the seven belief factors, materialism and value corruption
were not discriminated (H2b supported). The hypothesized
discrimination between product information and social image
belief factors received mixed support (H2a weakly supported).
All other factors (namely, hedonic, materialism/value corruption, falsity, and good-for-the-economy) were discriminated
(H2c, H2d, and H2e supported).
Consumer beliefs about advertising together explained a
significant amount of variance in global attitude (85.3%). The
largest contribution was from the good-for-the-economy factor,
with the second largest from product information (H3a and
H3e unsupported). The hedonic factor made an independent
significant contribution (H3d supported), as did the other
societal factors (H3b supported). Also, the social image belief factor made a significantly smaller contribution than did
product information (H3c supported).
In terms of demographics, severe critics (compared with enthusiasts) were more educated and came more from upper-income
brackets; they were also older and resided in smaller towns.

92 The Journal of Advertising


TABLE 5
Consumer Demographics of Enthusiasts and Severe Critics Segments

Demographic variables
(% within segment)

Segments
c2 value

Age
Below 40
61.8
38.9
40 and above
38.2
61.1

7.67

.006

Education
Primary and vocational
70.3
52.6
Secondary and college/university
29.7
47.4

5.27

.02

Net household monthly income (CZK)


Below 12,000
18.4
5.3
12,00117,000
22.4
31.6
17,00125,000
30.3
36.8
Above 25,001
28.9
26.3

4.37

.22

Population of town of residence (number of citizens)


Less than 1,000
11.9
31.6
1,0014,999
33.1
19.3
5,00019,999
15.3
17.5
20,00099,999
17.8
12.3
100,000 and more
22.0
19.3

11.71

.02

Enthusiasts

General Discussion
Factor Structure of Advertising Beliefs
The measurement model developed in the United States by
Pollay and Mittal (1993) worked well for our Czech consumers
in that the items supposed to measure a factor all coalesced
on that factor. Furthermore, similar to previous findings (e.g.,
Dvila and Rojas-Mndez 2001; Korgaonkar, Karson, and
Akaah 1997; Pollay and Mittal 1993), for our Czech sample:
(1)materialism and value corruption factors were not discriminated, but all others were; (2)the measured beliefs significantly
explained overall ad attitudes; and (3)five distinct segments
were obtained with belief profiles similar to the U.S. study.
One exception was the lack of clear discrimination between
the product information and social image factors, a result we
had in fact hypothesized. In the theory section, we advanced
two main reasons for this: (1)the main motivational focus on
functional benefits as opposed to symbolic benefits, and (2)a
lack of prior cognitive framework to process the symbolic
elements of commercial messages.

Severe critics

pattern suggests that strengthening the information content


of advertisements with personally useful information and at
the same time avoiding hype and fantasy are likely to result
in more favorable advertising attitudes in the Czech Republic.
Also, our finding of the significant contribution of the hedonic
factor supports Taylor, Bonner, and Dolezals (2002) assertion
that amusing stories with intelligent and witty humor will
be received well by the Czech consumers.
Contrary to our prior expectation (H3e), good-for-theeconomy was found to be the strongest predictor, ahead of
product information, with or without social image merged
into the latter (see Table3, RegressionB). Our initial logic
was that consumers of a new market economy would be more
focused on the personal benefits of advertising rather than take
cognizance of advertisings macro-benefits. Our results imply,
instead, that not only were Czech consumers cognizant of this
benefit, but recognition of this macro-benefit also drove their
liking of advertising. It would appear that Czech consumers
are experiencing the newly liberated economy as an immediate (not remote or macro) phenomenon with obvious personal
consequences.

The Role of Beliefs in Global Attitudes


An important finding of this study is the differing relative contribution of the belief factors. The three personal benefit belief
factors with positive effects contributed unevenly to explaining
overall ad attitude, with product information contributing the
most. In comparison, the effects of the falsity/no sense and the
materialism/value corruption factors were much weaker. This

Consumer Segments
Among the five segments, the severe critics and the conflicted
segments require closer study to find the reasons for their
dismissal of advertisings supposed benefits. Our conceptual
reasons include (1)the negative attitudes toward advertising
ingrained during the years of communist rule may still linger

Fall 2010 93

in consumer memories, and (2)in general, the level of trust


in the country is low (see Pavlica and Novy 2003; Pivoda
2001).
Demographic Differences
An important question for any society, especially one experiencing a new sociopolitical system, is whether all members of
that society (young and old, rich and poor) are experiencing
the new marketplace alike. As expected, our data revealed
that young Czech consumers liked advertising more than did
older consumers. Also, the more educated the consumer, the
less he or she liked advertising. Perhaps education made them
see advertising more critically. As to income, enthusiasts came
more from the lowest income group (and marginally also from
the highest-income group), whereas critics came more from
middle-income groups. Upper-income groups can afford,
of course, the new products made available by the liberated
economy, but what is interesting is that even lower-income
groups welcomed the new economy and its most visible
tooladvertising. Emerging from the days of the controlled
economy when even items of daily necessity were rationed,
their positive stance on the new economy is not illogical. The
middle-income group, however, might find itself strapped for
income in relation to the beckoning of new luxury goods. Of
all the groups, it is this group that most likely sees advertising
as promising a false paradise.
Implications for Practice
For the world of advertising practice and for public policy in
the Czech Republic, our results are mixed news. On the one
hand, the fact that about 1 in 4 consumers are happy with
advertising is good news; on the other hand, the finding that
2 in 3 are ambivalent, unbothered, or conflicted, and that 1
in 10 are severe critics gives cause for concern. Except for the
enthusiast segment, no one acknowledges the information
benefit of advertising, and most in fact deny it (see Table 4);
they also doubt the truthfulness of advertising. These findings
are alarming in light of the evidence from previous research
that product-related information dominates the advertising
content in the country. Advertisers may need to address this
issue by reviewing the information content of their ads and
bolstering their believability. Given that personal usefulness
and hedonic experiences were among the factors significantly
affecting Czech consumers global advertising attitudes, a
firms efforts should focus on producing credible, informationrich commercials that are, at the same time, entertaining.
The hypothesized lack of discrimination between the product information and social image factors also raises important
managerial issues. From the message designers points of view,
a product informationfocused advertisement and a social

imageoriented advertisement are two very distinct options;


if consumers read, however, the same meaning in both, thus
missing the symbolic content of the messages, then symbolic
image-based brand positioning will have failed. Marketers in
new economies will need to assess whether it is premature to
seek symbolic positioning for their brands, and they will need
to monitor how long consumers will remain focused on the
information content of ads. If, on the other hand, symbolic
consumption is already part of the aspiration for some consumers, marketers should figure out how best to communicate
their image-based brand positioning.
Last, in view of the finding that a large proportion of
the sample perceived advertising to exacerbate materialistic
tendencies and distort societal values, the ad industry should
ensure that its professional behavior complies with the ethical
advertising standards set in the Code of Advertising Practice
of the Czech Advertising Council. In general, the industry
should focus its efforts on improving both its practice and its
public perceptions. Corrective actions should be taken early
rather than later in the formative years of consumer attitudes
toward an institution.
Limitations
Our study has several limitations. First, the data were collected at the end of 2004 and some time has passed since
then. Although in U.S. studies negative attitudes persisted
over some four decades (from 1960 to 1990; see Pollay and
Mittal 1993), Czech consumer attitudes might have changed
since the data were collected. However, in 2004, the market
reforms in this country were already at an advanced stage and
the economy was growing steadily, which suggests that even
if any changes have occurred for this relatively short period
of time, they may not be substantial. Second, the Pollay and
Mittal scale that we used is now somewhat dated and warrants
updating even for the U.S. context. Third, we used two instead
of the three items proposed by Pollay and Mittal to measure
global attitude; this might have weakened our measure of this
construct. Fourth, we measured two belief factors with two
items each, which might have affected the reliability of the
respective scales. Fifth, Cronbachs a values were low for some
constructs.49 for good-for-the-economy and .66 for product
information and for falsity. Sixth, and finally, we used Pollay
and Mittals model, developed in the United States, which may
or may not have been able to adequately capture the range of
beliefs and attitudes in a Central European country, a point
we discuss more fully in the next section.
Directions for Future Research
We borrowed our theoretical model and measures from the
landmark U.S. study of Pollay and Mittal (1993). Although

94 The Journal of Advertising

the high explained variance in global attitude found in our


data corroborates our assumption, our imposed etic (taking an
outsiders perspective; Pike 1967) approach nonetheless had an
intrinsic limitation in that our model did not consider advertising beliefs that might be unique to consumers in the emerging market economies in general, and to Czech consumers in
particular. Future research should supplement our study with
an emic approach (an insiders perspective), using open-ended
exploratory interviews so as to identify any belief factors absent
in the U.S.-based inventory. Furthermore, assessment of overall
attitude might also consider alternative metrics (i.e., Likert
and semantic differential scales) as well as alternative concept
operationalizations (i.e., eliciting opinion toward advertising
versus tapping affect or feeling toward advertising); this will
enable tests of convergent validity.
The subjectivity inherent in our results from the cluster
analysis should be noted. The clustering results depend
closely on the sample, the variables used in the analysis, and
the number of derived clusters. Therefore, convergent validity through additional studies should be sought, and even
more importantly, the segment profileseven for the same
populationshould be updated periodically. Moreover, it is
necessary to unravel the segments beliefs and attitudes further with additional diagnostics questions. For example, are
the unbothered consumers merely passive, uninvolved, and
uncaring; or are they, instead, attentive but comfortable? In
the same vein, do conflicted consumers, or even ambivalents,
actually experience a psychological conflict, tormented by
trade-offs? Or are they, instead, accepting of the negatives as
inevitable trade-offs? And why do the severe critics not find
advertising personally useful, or enjoyable?
The main focus of this study was on the role of advertising
in one of the new market economies of Central and Eastern
Europethe Czech Republic. Because the Czech Republic is
at the leading edge of market reforms in the region, the attitudes of consumers in other Central and Eastern European
countries may not be any more pro-advertising. However, this
conjecture needs to be investigated, similarly indexed, and
periodically monitored.
Contributions
This research contributes to existing knowledge as follows.
First, being the only study in the Czech Republic, it sheds
light on consumer beliefs and attitudes toward advertising in
an important region of the world, namely, Central and Eastern
Europe. Second, the study provides empirical support for the
applicability of Pollay and Mittals theoretical model of advertising beliefs, developed in a Western country, in the context of
a newly liberated Central European country, where advertising
is a new and growing phenomenon. Third, the results provide
further evidence of the predictive power of advertising beliefs

and consumer sociodemographics in a different socioeconomic


context. Fourth, the studys findings provide a baseline for
future monitoring of the dynamics of advertising beliefs and
attitudes in the Czech Republic. This baseline is important
as general advertising perceptions will inevitably evolve with
the advancement of market reforms. Last, and perhaps most
important, the study advances a framework for understanding
public attitudes toward advertising in all other new market
economies in Central and Eastern Europe.
CONCLUSION
The market economies of Central and Eastern Europe are
still young and fragile, and public trust in marketings most
visible instrumentnamely, advertisingis quintessential
to their further advancement. It is perilous for marketers not
to understand public attitudes in a country and not to take
action to ensure that the ranks of advertisings critics do not
swell with the passage of time. In all the countries of Central
and Eastern Europe, as in the Czech Republic, there is a real
need to ensure that consumers, eager to partake of the fruits
of the liberated economies, find advertising to deliver true
value. This region offers a unique context for understanding
the development of public attitudes toward advertising and
for deploying advertising as an instrument of economic development. In each country in the region, research is needed
to track consumer attitudes and segment distributions on a
regular basis. For these much-needed replication studies as
well as further diagnostic research, the present study provides
a useful framework.
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APPENDIX
Factor Structure of Advertising BeliefsCalibration and Validation Samples
To ascertain that the factor structure of advertising beliefs (to be estimated) was not due to chance, we divided the total sample
into two random split-halves, designating them as calibration and validation samples. We conducted a series of CFAs on the
calibration sample and tested the fitted models on the validation sample using the fixed-structure cross-validation method (see
MacCallum et al. 1994). This approach requires all the coefficients in linear equations (factor loadings in the case of CFA) and
variances/covariances of exogenous variables (of factors in the case of CFA) to be held fixed when fitting the model to the validation sample. The models were fitted to the covariance matrices of both samples by the method of maximum likelihood.
Testing the entire model of measured beliefs on the split-half samples became infeasible due to the unfavorable ratio of estimated parameters to sample size. We therefore ran the procedure with two truncated submodels, with a subset of factors at
a time. Specifically, Model A comprised only the three individual advertising beliefs factors and Model B comprised only the
beliefs related to social and economic effects of advertising.
Next, to parallel the tests of various hypotheses with CFAs on the full sample reported in the text, we ran relevant portions
(i.e., submodels) on split-half samples as follows: ModelC comprised product information and falsity with item21 of falsity
cross loading on product information, ModelD comprised product information and social image (separate versus merged), and
ModelE comprised materialism and value corruption (separate versus merged).
Model A. Three Personal Belief Factors
Model
A1. Calibration (first half) sample
A2. Validation (second half) sample

c2
66.82
59.74

df
24
36

CMIN/DF GFI
2.78
.945
1.66
.950

AGFI
.898
.938

CFI
.946
.968

RMSEA
.083
.051

c2
146.31
123.79

df
51
66

CMIN/DF GFI
2.86
.911
1.88
.927

AGFI
.864
.91

CFI
.868
.919

RMSEA
.085
.058

Model B. Three Societal Belief Factors


Model
B1. Calibration (first half) sample
B2. Validation (second half) sample

Model C. Product Information and Falsity Belief Factors (With and Without Cross Loading of One Falsity Item on Product Information)
Model
C1. Calibration (first half) sample (no cross-loading)
C2. Calibration (first half) sample (with cross-loading)
C3. Validation (second half) sample (no cross-loading)
C4. Validation (second half) sample (with cross-loading)

c2
25.84
7.79
74.91
32.26

df
8
7
15
15

CMIN/DF
3.23
1.11
4.99
2.15

GFI
.965
.990
.907
.961

AGFI
.909
.969
.869
.945

CFI
.950
.998
.824
.949

RMSEA
.093
.021
.125
.067

GFI
.984
.981
.960
.960

AGFI
.958
.955
.943
.944

CFI
.991
.989
.970
.969

RMSEA
.047
.050
.062
.063

Model D. Product Information and Social Image Belief Factors (Separate Versus Merged)
Model
D1. Calibration (first half) sample (separate factors)
D2. Calibration (first half) sample (merged factors)
D3. Validation (second half) sample (separate factors)
D4. Validation (second half) sample (merged factors)

c2
12.50
14.84
29.59
30.12

df
8
9
15
15

CMIN/DF
1.56
1.65
1.97
2.01

98 The Journal of Advertising

Model E. Materialism and Value Corruption Belief Factors (Separate Versus Merged)
Model
E1. Calibration (first half) sample (separate factors)
E2. Calibration (first half) sample (merged factors)
E3. Validation (second half) sample (separate factors)
E4. Validation (second half) sample (merged factors)

c2
17.14
23.64
23.44
18.90

df
13
14
21
21

CMIN/DF
1.32
1.69
1.12
.90

GFI
.982
.974
.975
.979

AGFI
.961
.948
.966
.972

CFI
.986
.966
.992
1.00

RMSEA
.035
.052
.021
.000

As the above tables show, all models demonstrate good fit; the poorest of these are Models C1 and C3, both with no cross loading of item 21 (present a true picture of goods) on the product information factor. When this cross loading is freed, the resulting
models (C2 and C4) achieve better fit. More to the point, in each case, the validation sample data fit the model well, which was
first fitted on the calibration sample. Therefore, in the main text, we chose to report the same analyses on the entire sample.

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