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Consumer Consumption and Advertising Through Sport
Ann L. Pegoraro1, Steven M. Ayer1, and Norman J. O’Reilly1

American Behavioral Scientist 53(10) 1454–1475 © 2010 SAGE Publications Reprints and permission: http://www. DOI: 10.1177/0002764210368079

Abstract The sport industry benefits greatly from its various media partnerships. Sport as a corporate marketing tool provides increased flexibility, broad reach, and high levels of brand and corporate exposure. Many organizations have recognized this potential of sport as a vehicle for accomplishing many of their marketing-related objectives. In turn, this has resulted in significant growth in the sport industry, in particular in its media consumption both online and offline. The purpose of this research—using the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as its sample—was to identify how advertisements contained within both the online and television broadcasts contribute to consumer culture and consumption. Content analysis was used to identify specific tactics related to materialism, maximization, regret, social comparison, and anti-materialism within 144 unique advertisements contained within the broadcasts. Findings include the high prevalence of maximization tactics, a significant correlation between length of ad and the use of materialism tactics (i.e., the longer the ad, the higher the frequency of materialism tactics), and a significant correlation between the use of regret and maximization tactics and fear appeals. It is notable that the use of a spokesperson in an advertisement showed no relationship with the five tactics and no difference was found for the use of the five tactics and medium (television or Internet). Keywords advertising, consumption, sport, materialism, maximization, content analysis Globally, the sport industry has benefited greatly from its various media partnerships. Television, in particular, has the power to create stars, sell products, alter

Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Corresponding Author: Ann L. Pegoraro, Laurentian University, 935 Ramsey Lake Road, Sudbury, Ontario P3E 2C6, Canada Email:

Pegoraro et al.


lifestyles, and commodify audiences, thereby making spectator sport an element of mainstream culture (Jhally, 1984; Maguire, 1993; McChesney, 1989; Real, 1989; Wenner, 1998; Whannel, 1992). Estimates from Plunkett’s Sport Industry Almanac (2007) approximate the total sport business industry in the United States alone to between $375 to $425 billion in 2007 approximate the total sport business industry in the United States alone to be $213 billion in 2007. These figures indicated that corporations spent $27.43 billion (or 14.1% of the total value of the industry) in 2007 on advertising, $239.10 million on Internet advertising, and $6.40 billion on sponsorships for a combined $32.67 billion on advertising through sport. This increase in advertising through sport has come as companies now recognize the potential of sport as a vehicle for accomplishing many of their marketing-related goals (Lyberger & McCarthy, 2001). Indeed, sport, as a marketing tool, is known to provide increased flexibility, broader reach, and higher levels of brand and corporate exposure, making it an integral and important medium for corporations (Kropp, Lavack, Holden, & Dalakas, 1999). The move of the sport industry into mainstream culture and the increased spending on advertising through sport has led to an increased need for related research. To date, much of this research has focused on the intersection of sport and media, including work related to gender differences, identities, risk taking, and the role that sport plays in creating celebrity and lifestyle (e.g., Rowe, 2004; Stone & Horne, 2008; Wenner, 1998; Whannel, 2001). Research activity has also increased in such areas as the effectiveness of sport advertising formats (e.g., in-stadium or outdoor signage) and sponsorship recall and recognition (e.g., Crimmins & Horn, 1996; Harshaw & Turner, 1999; Nicholls, Roslow, & Dublish, 1999; Pope & Voges, 2000; Shilbury & Berriman, 1996; Stotlar & Bennett, 2000; Turco, 1996; Turley & Shannon, 2000). It is notable that there has been limited research focused on the online streaming of sport and the role that the online broadcast environment plays in the realm of advertising through sport (O’Reilly & Rahinel, 2006) as researchers have focused instead on the use of advertisements on Web sites (Gallagher, Foster, & Parsons, 2001; Shamdasani, Stanaland, & Tan, 2001; Stevenson, Bruner, & Kumar, 2000) and the effects of increased advertising through sport on consumer culture and consumption (e.g., Hilliard & Hendley, 2005; Messner, Dunbar, & Hunt, 2000). To address these gaps, this research adopts rigorous content analysis to study the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (a single elimination tournament held each spring featuring 65 college basketball teams in the United States, often referred to as March Madness) to identify how advertisements contained within both the online and television broadcasts contribute to consumer culture and consumption. Specifically, we focus on answering the following six research questions. The first two are related to frequency issues and the final four are about relationship factors. Specifically, Research Question 1: Is the frequency of advertisements using maximization, materialism, anti-materialism, social comparison, or regret tactics greater within television or online broadcasts?

a. etc. and March Madness. social comparison. who focused on the effect of humor. or radio commercials. 1998) and assessing the effectiveness of arena and in-game advertising (Stotlar & Bennett. Some related research exists for the Super Bowl. The concept of likeability is also dealt with by Richins (1995). the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (a. or regret) occurs with greater frequency? Research Question 3: Is there a relationship between the use of the five tactics and the product category advertised? Research Question 4: Is there a relationship between the use of the five tactics and the advertisement length? Research Question 5: Is there a relationship between the use of the five tactics and advertising executions or appeals? Research Question 6: Is there a relationship between each of the individual tactics and one or more of the other tactics? Literature Review For the purpose of this study. is known as much for its advertisements. . as it is for sport. for a 30-second commercial. most notable by Tomkovick. 2008). To date.1456 American Behavioral Scientist 53(10) Research Question 2: Which of the five tactics (maximization. and product category type on likeability of Super Bowl advertisements. Yelkur. Internet. McCullogh. Their results indicated that all of these factors.k. animals. 2006). the format (commercials). US$1. March Madness) now commands the second largest dollar amount. and Christians (2001). Unbeknownst to many. the World Cup. It is clear that understanding what advertising techniques prompt consumer consumption has important implications for companies who choose to advertise during large-scale sporting events such as the Olympics.2 million. materialism. research relating to the tournament has been limited to comparing advertisements during the Final Four games for both men and women (Wyatt. & Wolgemuth. advertisement length. 2000). celebrities. antimaterialism. had a strong significant effect on advertisement likeability scores. It is important that our review did not find any significant extant research focused on the online streaming of the tournament or on the effectiveness of advertisement in either medium in terms of overall marketing strategies for the advertisers. advertising is (a) interpreted as including all types of advertising (television.8 million dollars for a 30-second commercial (Rooney.) that are included within the broadcast of a sport event and (b) delineated into three distinct components: the medium (advertising through sport). and the vehicle (the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament broadcasts) (Pyun. magazine advertisements. except the presence of celebrities. whose research indicates that likeability leads to increased desire for the advertised products on the part of the consumer and eventually increased consumption. Advertising and Sport Events The National Football League’s premier event. with fees in excess of US$2. the Super Bowl.

supporting the view that streaming video content on the Web has become the newest frontier for advertisers (White. Indeed. 2006). offsetting costs through advertising revenues for space during the online games. rapid success. March Madness on Demand. For the 2008 tournament. Crawford (2004) noted how particularly effective the Internet is for sport teams and leagues to reach supporters. experienced an additional 135% gain in unique visitors to 4 million in 2008. CBS Sports has broadcast March Madness on the Web since 2002. Oh and Arditi (2000) suggest that the Internet helps both create and satisfy an endless stream of consumer desires by providing a milieu in which any need can be invented and then immediately satisfied. media (both television and online) that can easily facilitate consumer . recent studies have confirmed a similar relationship between Internet use and materialistic consumer consumption (Bush & Gilbert. where the Internet and other new media are viewed as mechanisms for manipulating consumer demand and consumption.95. live online sport events are becoming increasingly attractive to marketers. thereby promoting a labyrinth of consumerism. 1457 Online Streaming of Sport Recent pronouncements in marketing have indicated that all media are going digital and that online media and marketing are now required elements of brand campaigns (Rollins.3 billion total hours consumed (Gannes. without relying on other media sources. 2006) and advertising through sport (O’Reilly & Rahinel.000 registered viewers in 2002 to more than 1. Recognizing the ability of the Internet to provide consumers with sport content when and where they want it. Fisher (1968) noted that the most serious charge against advertising was its contribution to the erosion of society’s moral standards and the substitution of a new set of standards based on the quick buck. 2007). 2008). 2002). 2007). and material possessions. Advertising and Consumer Consumption Television and the advertising within are often accused of nurturing materialism and inventing consumers’ wants or even needs. In this regard. 2007). CBS charged online viewers a fee of $19. who are willing to pay to reach an even more captive and loyal audience (LaMonica. 154). as well as a 58% increase in total hours consumed to 4. in the privacy of their homes. The online audience for the tournament increased from 25. The combination of high advertising dollars and large viewership. the CBS Web site. but by 2006. CBS provided the online broadcasts for free. Initially. Advertising revenues have also increased from $4 million in 2006 to a total of $23 million in 2008 for the online streaming of the games (Joyce. Webster (2002) argued that “information developments are central to the spread of consumerism since they provide the means by which people are persuaded by corporate capitalism that it is both a desirable and an inevitable way of life” (p. In addition.Pegoraro et al. those who consume sport broadcasts online are essentially one click away from a sponsor’s Web site where a purchase can typically be made. In addition. including a large group engaged online. 2008).8 million in 2007 (Elkin. both new and old customers.

there have been very few studies examining or even mentioning materialism in the context of sport. whereby . lower levels of donations to charities. Richins. 1985c..g. and higher anxiety. Sirgy et al. These researchers responded to this key finding by calling for increased socially responsible advertising—advertising that did not endorse materialism beyond the basic meeting of needs. In arguing this. 2005. 1985. Materialism Within the literature about how media affect consumer culture. materialism has been a persistent issue (Pollay & Mittal. Belk & Pollay. Shrum et al. there have been no studies specifically looking at the levels of materialism in sport commercials despite the wide array of content analysis studies that have looked at some aspect of materialism (e. those who like to think). As a result.1458 American Behavioral Scientist 53(10) consumption provided by the NCAA Tournament present a highly suitable context for the purpose of studying how advertising through sport can contribute to consumer consumption. Kasser. Burroughs. Shrum et al. Belk. results in lower life satisfaction. 1998). as there is usually no other online broadcast option to move to. Sirgy et al. Similarly. that increased television viewing led to lower life satisfaction through the reinforcement of material consumption. Given the limited attention in the literature to materialism from a sporting perspective. Belk. 1985b. 2003. Richins. 1995) in the context of baseball that proposed that materialism is a type of consumption where people treat objects as direct sources of value instead of sources of value insofar as they create other experiences. 1989). making its presence a vital component of advertisements. 1995. 1995. 2005) where findings suggest that materialism is unhealthy. Spiggle. which has led many researchers to examine the effect of materialism on consumers (e. Shrum. the definition of materialism espoused by Richins and Dawson (1992) is adopted here. 2003.. An important exception is a study (Holt.. where the evidence suggests that both theoretically and empirically. 1991. (2005) found increased levels of materialism among those who pay the most attention to television and advertisements (both in general and during a specific exposure) and for those higher in need for cognition (i. 1985a. Indeed. & Rindfleisch. 2002. the increased exposure to television can increase materialism (Richins. 1986.e. Belk. 1993). Richins & Dawson. Kasser. & Zhou. especially in the United States. However. Attention is particularly important in the context of an online broadcast. (1998) investigated the relationship between television viewing and life satisfaction in five different countries and found evidence. the important question as to whether television and advertising actually increase materialism or whether materialists expose themselves to more television is exposed.g. Holt noted that going to a baseball game could be viewed as a materialistic form of consumption depending on one’s motive for going.. There is an array of evidence that suggests that increased exposure to television and advertising in any form increases material desires. where the viewer is less likely to be switching between broadcasts. 1987.. and is associated with a variety of other social and personal ills (Burroughs & Rindfleisch. Tse. higher rates of depression. 1992).

Smith. there are also dangers to adolescent females (Martin & Gentry. especially when athletes endorse products. When consumers compare themselves to those in the advertisement. 2000). 2000). 1459 materialism is defined as seeking material possessions with the belief that these possessions will make one happier. advertisements tend to neglect the negative aspects associated with the topic of the advertisement whether it be a depiction of daily life (e. First. On the other hand. whether it is in relation to beauty or in relation to wealth. has become so common that it can have many negative results. Goldsmith. but either way. Because few individuals are able to achieve the purchases and possessions that are idealized in these ads. it is unlikely that a viewer watching a professional athlete dunk basketballs is really going to make a comparison to the athlete and become self-critical for failing to achieve the athlete’s standard of play. individuals may then start to think. . Smith. For example. especially the idealized form. Richins. “I wish I could have that too”— the type of social comparison that makes one feel inadequate. comparisons in some circumstances can create undesirable results (Diener & Fujita. In these situations. in terms of both physical appearance and perceived financial status. 1991). 1997) as well as males (Gulas & McKeage.g. 2000). Social comparison with advertisements. In general. whereas downward social comparisons tend to be more likely to elevate the mood of the individual.. they see only the results and not the hard work and can accordingly feel inferior to the individuals in the advertisement. For the most part. individuals can feel greater appreciation for their own circumstances when they see someone who is truly suffering or worse off (a downward social comparison. 1995). & Jusoh. 2005. viewers may find themselves lacking. if an athlete (or any actor) is portrayed in an advertisement with a beautiful partner.g. 1991. it can be inspiring when we see someone who has accomplished great things or can provide a role model for better behavior. most of the problems and trials of the people portrayed in advertisements are solved before the end of the advertisement by the miraculous product advertised) or a depiction of the amount of work required to achieve something (e. 1997.. social comparison is not all bad.Pegoraro et al. in comparing themselves to individuals in advertisements. Second. 1995). upward social comparisons tend to be more negative for the individual. Essentially. Advertising through sport provides some interesting cases for social comparison. few consumers can imagine a weight-loss commercial truly attempting to show the hours of exercise that individuals portrayed had to go through) (Richins. However. Social Comparison Another concept in advertising that is tied closely with materialism is that of social comparison (Heaney. the issue of social comparison stems from two major criticisms of advertisements (Richins. many of the individuals depicted in media and advertising are not typical of the average person. 1995). it can be harmful to some consumers by creating an upward shift in personal expectations for success (Hoch & Loewenstein.

Zeelenberg & Pieters. which individuals feel when they believe that they have not acquired the best option. Hornik. 2007).1460 American Behavioral Scientist 53(10) Maximization A recent concept that is becoming increasingly popular in the marketing literature is the personality trait known as maximization. and higher rates of anxiety (Schwartz et al. only two studies could be identified that were explicitly interested in the regret portrayed in advertisements. Schwartz et al.. Accordingly. 2002. 2002). meanings. One of these studies examined guilt appeals in advertising (Huhmann & Brotherton. to what extent advertisements attempt to show that consumers will feel regret if they decide to choose another product is important.. Method Content analysis was employed as the methodological tool to analyze the advertisements diffused during both the online broadcast and television broadcast of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as content analysis allowed the researchers to examine and describe the frequencies. 2002). limited knowledge exists about how advertisers may or may not explicitly try to encourage maximization behavior in advertisements. 2004.. and yet. which refers to a general tendency for individuals to try to acquire the best possible option to solve a particular need or want (Schwartz et al. 2001). Even the process of choosing between options can become painful and anticipated regret can cause individuals to avoid making decisions altogether. and use of visual and linguistic elements in the commercials in an objective. Similar to materialism. advertisers may make use of limited time offers to make people feel regret should they refuse to make a decision by a certain point in time (Abernethy & Franke. systematic. Due to its relative newness. and quantitative manner . maximization has also been shown to be associated with social comparison processes. Cronholm. Cialdini. 2006. Wells. higher rates of depression. as well as generally lower satisfaction with most choices made (Iyengar. Maximization is also associated with lower overall life satisfaction. 2002). which contained several items investigating regret. & Schwartz. 1996. mainly because it is next to impossible to determine whether one has achieved the best possible option without comparing one’s success to other individuals. For example. 2007). Regret is a powerful motivator (Zeelenberg & Pieters. Schwartz. & Barg. Krueger. 2007). 1997) and how these could be used to incite regret avoidance behavior.. The second explored the tactics used by pharmaceutical company advertisements (Frosch. including when one considers that the consumer may fear what will happen should he or she make the wrong medication choice or whether to go on any medication at all. Regret Another concept that is highly related to maximization is that of regret (Schwartz et al.

2001. social comparison. Table 1 describes these variables. imagine the regret of using a lesser product Regret reducing metrics Warranty information Money back or exchange information (Berelson. Table 1. The coding process records the presence or absence of predetermined and strictly defined attributes (Leedy & Ormrod. Recording technology (i. Regret. Neuendorf. 6. 5. 1999. and regret concepts (4. This resulted in an instrument that contained 30 variables related to maximization. 2002). and 9 variables.Pegoraro et al. Maximization. respectively). 2002). systematic steps were used in conceptualizing definitions of the variables to be measured (Neuendorf. 2002). 2002).e. anti-materialism. 1971. materialism. The measurement of the occurrence of variable attributes then allowed for the tabulation and statistical analysis of the data using descriptive or inferential statistics (Neuendorf. 4. . 2002). and Materialism Metrics Coded Maximization metrics Trying lots of options before deciding Product comparisons Never settling for second best The product/service makes the future better Materialism metrics Portrayed as something to impress people Product emphasizes how purchasing equals personal improvement (excepting happiness) Pleasure through luxury depicted Product makes people happy or is an important achievement in life to obtain Anti-materialism metrics Keep life simple or buy only the things you need Generosity Charity Events and experiences Emphasize importance of friends and family Social comparison metrics 1461 Very popular person depicted Physically attractive main character emphasized Luxury good depicted Wealthy person depicted Statistic re: popularity of the product Target market shown using product Regret increasing metrics Limited quantities Limited dates Temporary sales Contests or giveaways Health issues Safety issues Show the consumer what might happen if offer refused.. Content analysis relies on the coding of data classified in a conceptual framework based on the research questions. screen capture software and a DVD recorder) was used to store both broadcasts of the games that CBS broadcast online and on television. Social Comparison. For this research. Neuendorf. Neuendorf. These variables were then operationally defined through the production of a dictionary that defined the constructs in terms of specific units of measurement (Babbie.

On the other hand. The coders worked together to reach agreement on the definition and coding of variables. resulted in a total of 29 and 17 games recorded for online and television broadcasts. which involved the coding of moving images. Therefore. Scott’s pi was used as outlined in Holsti (1969) and modified by Potter and Levine-Donnerstein (1999). the percentage of agreement by chance is 50%) as determined by Potter and Levine-Donnerstein (1999). using two coders with two coding options. 280). and the regional blackout policy adhered to by CBS. In cases where there was disagreement between coders.50 level of intercoder reliability and 24 of the variables met the more stringent . Potter and Levine-Donnerstein (1999) addressed the overcorrection issue and suggested that the percentage of agreement expected by chance is best calculated “using the normal approximation to the binomial distribution” (p. . The two coders saw a total of 430 advertisements from the recordings of the online games.70 level. The uneven sample was due to the total number of unique advertisements available online. Technology limitations that allowed the recording of only one game at a time both online and on television. the definitions for the variables were discussed and refined to reach a new definition based on a consensus philosophy. a pilot test using commercials contained in the television broadcast of the 2007 Academy Awards was conducted where each coder independently coded a selection of ads from the broadcast. the reliability of each variable was noted and then discussed. a random sample of four games per round for each of the online and television broadcasts was selected. For the purposes of this study. respectively. The most common criticism of Scott’s pi is for conservatism in overcorrecting for chance agreement. Scott’s pi was modified for this study by using the probability for perfect agreement among coders (i. The new coding instrument was tested using the remaining advertisements from the Academy Awards broadcast. 2002). Neuendorf (2002) further noted that the “beyond chance” statistics such as Scott’s pi should be afforded a more liberal criterion as they are the most rigorous reliability assessments in content analysis studies. As a consequence. There are many statistical formulae to test intercoder reliability but no general consensus on which method is best suited for any particular instrument or study (Neuendorf. To ensure equal sampling throughout the first three rounds. items achieving agreement levels of .1462 American Behavioral Scientist 53(10) A training session with the two coders was conducted where the comprehensive definition list and coding sheet were explained and discussed. After this. Results Descriptive Statistics The sample consisted of 44 unique online advertisements and 100 unique television advertisements. The two data coders analyzed the advertisements. All 30 variables met the . yet only 44 of them were unique.e. for this study. coding the presence or absence (both verbal and visual) of the variables.. resulting in acceptable levels of intercoder reliability.50 for Scott’s pi or above were included.

Frequencies of the Five Tactics To examine the relative use of various tactics in advertisements.Pegoraro et al. In this sample.1% of the total number of unique advertisements viewed online. advertisers subscribe at a lower frequency to online broadcasts (31 advertisers. and social comparison aspects in advertisements were equal for the advertisements contained in the online streaming versus the television broadcasts. The results (see Tables 2 and 3) indicated that this was indeed the case as there was no substantial difference between the use of these five techniques and the medium. Social comparison was a commonly used technique (average score = . It is important to note that ads are shorter online (18 of 44 ads were 15 seconds online. 100 of which were unique. This high repetition of advertisements in the online sample is also reflective of the relative immaturity of the online event (Mullaney.61 for 6 metrics). 1997. anti-materialism. relatively few advertisements depict anti-materialistic values (mean score = . 1995). 1463 the coders saw 146 television advertisements. Examining the results for the other tactics. Furthermore. . of which 80% also advertise on television) than for the more established television medium where advertisers spent $497 million on commercial spots during the 2007 tournament (Elkin. These results suggest that advertisements tend to contain materialistic tactics (like showing how a product will impress your friends or how buying a product can substantially improve something about you) but do not often contain “positive” or anti-materialistic tactics (such as showing generosity). maximization. Frequencies—Online Versus Television Broadcasts Research Question 1 was formulated to investigate whether the presence of materialism. regret. possibly accounting for an increase in advertisement viewing frequency online.34 for five items) as compared to materialistic ones (mean score = . in particular because companies used individuals who are very much like their target market in advertisements. the large number of advertisers ensured that no advertisements were viewed with the same frequency. 2006).. Although social comparison tactics have been shown to be harmful to consumers (e. just 12 companies reflected 57. Diener & Fujita.5 for four items). there are indications that advertising through sport involves tactics related to consumer consumption. whereas on the television broadcasts. In general. This makes the advertisement more relevant and more persuasive but also increases the probability that the consumer will actually compare himself or herself to the person depicted in the advertisement (Richins. 2007). the supposition that advertising contains elements that can prompt consumer consumption is supported by the results in the table.g. For example. which might lead one to expect there to be a difference between the two media. This result is notable as advertisements are shorter online and longer ads tend to be more materialistic (see Table 3). the average number of each tactic per commercial was calculated and reported as a mean score in Table 3. whereas only 20 of 100 were 15 seconds on television).

38 F 0. 1991.270 0.54 for seven items). Frequencies of Five Tactics Tactic Materialistic techniques (4 metrics) Anti-materialistic techniques (5 metrics) Regret inducing techniques (7 metrics) Regret reducing techniques (2 metrics) Social comparison techniques (6 metrics) Maximization techniques (4 metrics) Mean number of techniques per ad 0.61 1.065 Table 3.03 0.795 0.53 0. which some may criticize as promoting conformity (Pollay.00 1.12 60.00 143. insurance.11 0.51 0. Few of the advertisements analyzed attempted to reduce consumer regret through discussing return policies or warranties (mean score = .00 142.91 df 1.82 62. this tactic can also have functional benefits. whereas more of the advertisements portrayed consumer regret (mean score = .64 3. can actually convey useful information to the consumer about the product.00 0.00 1. but in particular product categories such as investments. 1995).23 0.61 54. .00 1.00 143. Analysis of Variance—Comparing Metrics Online Versus Offline Sum of squares Maximization sum Social comparison sum Regret inducing sum Regret reducing sum Materialism sum Anti-materialism sum between groups within groups total between groups within groups total between groups within groups total between groups within groups total between groups within groups total between groups within groups total 0.77 0.80 1.00 142.31 0.00 142.11 77.00 143.02 1.00 1.5 0.00 142.25 1.61 0. or pharmaceuticals. 0.31 53. For example.53 61.372 0.46 Sig.00 Mean square 0.39 3.29 Richins.12 0.25 0.00 3. 1986).55 0.00 142.00 143.660 0.00 1. the difference may be a minor one of performance (“Which product will help me perform better?”).39 1.106 0.00 143.36 0.42 1.00 143.61 108.19 0.44 0.07 2.13 61.89 77.00 142. In many of the product categories.03 for the two items).1464 American Behavioral Scientist 53(10) Table 2. The most commonly used regret tactic was to portray the consumer’s potential regret for using an inferior product.34 0.99 0.64 109. statistics about the popularity of a product.

indicating the popularity of this tactic with the majority of the advertisers.221. No relationship was found between materialism tactics and the . To allow for this comparison. Banking/Investments.001).001). The results (see Table 4) found a significant relationship between maximization techniques and the product categories of Banking and Insurance/Health Care advertisements (Banking r = .g. that the world is a substantially better place through the use of the product or service in the advertisement. p < .224. maximization. they differed from other results (Smith. supported previous work (Richins. and regret and the type of product being advertised. Communication/Technology. One maximization item. Materialism techniques illustrated a positive relationship with the product category of Personal Hygiene/Beauty Products (r = . financial products) that would typically use specific regret tactics. Personal.29 for four items) than for the other tactics. Transportation. 2002). Perhaps. although this could be due in large part to the extremely low number of advertisements (n = 8) for this product. the advertisements viewed were grouped according to the following categories: Food and Beverage. the results. Previous results (O’Cass. No significant relationships were found between regret techniques and any of the product categories.280. the findings of this study vary due to the types of products advertised during the broadcasts.. was used frequently (mean score = . 1995) through a positive correlation with Personal and Hygiene products (r = .28. with lower frequency for product categories (e.26. anti-materialism. Research Question 3 focused on possible relationships between the five tactics of social comparison.008). p < . The frequency of maximization tactics in the advertisements viewed was higher (1. 1465 the differences between the options can be critical. materialism.7). Relationships—Advertisement Length Research Question 4 examined the relationship between the five tactics and the length of the advertisement. Frosch et al.Pegoraro et al. With respect to social comparison techniques. 2000) by demonstrating a negative correlation with the Financial products category (r = –. This was expected from the material nature of these products—these advertisements typically emphasize how they can improve an individual. Insurance/Health Care. p = .. Athletic Apparel/ Equipment. and Other. Insurance/Health Care r = .007. Clothing/Shoes.001). These relationships support previous literature (Schwartz et al. p < . in part. 2004) that found that materialism is associated with advertisements for clothing were not supported in this study. Relationships by Product Category The second category of research questions investigated relationships between the four tactics and other aspects of the advertisements. p < . However. (2007) have demonstrated that pharmaceutical advertisements will often make use of regret-based appeals to encourage consumers to use drugs that they may not really need.

08 0.01 0.06 -0.1466 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1.00 -0.00 -0.08 0.03 0.06 -0.11 -0.04 -0.07 0.10 -0.23** -0.07 -0.10 -0.05 0.03 0.00 (continued) 1.01 Maximization sum Social comparison sum Regret inducing sum Regret reducing sum Materialism sum Anti-materialism sum Other persuasion sum Advertising appeal sum Advertising execution sum 15 or 30 seconds (1 = 15) Food and beverage Transportation -0.00 0.00 -0.11 0.12 0.00 1.07 0.00 0.34** 0.09 -0.09 0.12 1.11 0.02 -0.00 0.15 0.47** -0.00 -0.04 1.04 -0.28** 1.18* 0.09 -0.21* -0.19* 0.00 1.00 0.02 1.14 0.08 0.14 0.00 0.22** 0.24** -0.03 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.38** -0.01 -0.11 0.18* 0.07 -0.05 0.09 0.07 0.02 0.01 0.06 -0.00 0.25** Table 4.09 1.07 0.14 1.00 1.17* -0.23** 0. Table of Relationships 1 2 3 4 1.06 0.28** .11 0.

06 0.13 0.03 1.06 -0.03 -0.49** 0.06 0.55** -0.13 0.08 -0.22** -0.03 0.05 0.16 0.06 -0.21* 0.17* 0.28** -0.12 0.15 0.05 -0.00 -0.02 -0.01 0.27** -0.06 -0.72** -0.21* -0.22** -0.06 0.05 -0.09 0.06 0.08 -0.04 0.23** 0.15 -0.08 -0.01 -0.01 0.02 0.02 0.25** 0.22** -0.15 -0.00 -0. 1467 .Table 4.04 0.05 -0.10 0.00 -0.02 0.15 1.11 -0.17* -0.20* -0.01 0. (continued) 5 0.08 0.10 -0.06 0.22** -0.28** -0.12 0.52** 0.05 -0.08 -0.02 -0.170* *p < .20* 0.18* -0.10 1.08 1.05 1.23** 0.01.04 -0.07 0.10 -0.05 0.03 0.00 -0.18* -0.02 0.15 0.12 0.00 -0.01 0.13 -0.12 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 1 2 3 4 0.12 1.00 1.16 0.01 -0.10 0.04 0.16 0.12 0.03 -0.00 Personal products or hygiene Banking or finance Insurance or health care Fear appeal Sex appeal Negative appeal Testimonial 0.05 -0.11 0.05 0.13 0.08 0.28** -0.08 0.05 0.21 -0.11 -0.08 -0.04 0.05 **p < .06 0.14 -0.04 -0.

Fear appeals correlated with both maximization (r = . allowing for the use of only the simplest of the techniques. Rational Appeal. Science/ Technical Evidence. p = .3% of 15-second ads used techniques showing the product or service as something that is used to impress people (materialism). two major differences were noted between short and longer ads. and Guilt (see Table 4). p = . Relationships—Five Techniques and Advertising Appeals and Executions To investigate Research Question 5. Slice of Life. These results may be a function of the fact that longer advertisements allow for more sophisticated tactics and shorter ads must make their points quickly. Use of Animal in Ad.01) but negatively with social comparison (r = –. Only 5. Because the focus for social comparison tactics is on comparing oneself to the idealized image in the advertisement often portrayed as a beautiful individual. shorter ads tended to portray their products as something that makes people happy or representing an important achievement in life to obtain (materialism) less frequently than longer ads (15. Thus.226.230. Similarly. p = . p = . None of the other tactics differed significantly. Testimonial. Negative Emotional.005).214.001) and were also positively associated with the specific execution of product or brand comparison (r = .006) techniques.234.010) as well as with materialism (r = . this could be construed as a sex appeal.1468 American Behavioral Scientist 53(10) length of the advertisement. although maximization fell slightly short of the traditional level of significance (r = . Looking at the possible reasons for this. The use of the advertising appeal type of testimonial was positively associated with social comparison (r = . and Other Persuasion Techniques). Advertisers appear to use more materialistic elements in longer advertisements. but longer ads do not appear to exhibit substantially more of the other tactics.011) and regret (r = .2% of 30-second advertisements). p = .01). and sex appeals and social comparison techniques were positively correlated (r = . Demonstration.088). p = . whereas 21% of the 30-second advertisements used this technique (see Table 4). p = . Sex. Comparison. p < .006).8% of 15-second advertisements vs. p = .043).169. as one would expect a fear appeal to be related to the use of regret techniques as well as maximization. 35. which focuses on the downside of not attaining a specific need or want. Negative emotional appeals correlated positively with maximization (r = . With respect to advertising executions (Straight-Sell or Factual Message. p < .643.215.214. Fantasy.212. The execution strategy of . which seemed to be in contradiction to the finding that longer ads tend to be more materialistic (r = .468. Both of these results are intuitive.278. Positive Emotional. Nostalgia.001) and regret (r = . advertisers have fewer tactics available to them to persuade consumers than they do in the longer ad formats supported by television. indicating that many of the social comparisons may not be negative in nature. maximization techniques were associated with the most advertising execution elements (r = .146. Fear. Dramatization. each of the five techniques was tested for relationships with specific advertising appeals: Humor. p = . p = . in the online broadcasts where ads are typically much shorter.001). Use of Animation.

Pegoraro et al. p = . 1469 other persuasion techniques (new product/improved features and product results demonstrated) was broadly associated with maximization (r = . 1987).. therefore.224. 2004). p = . Schwartz et al. Findings indicate that maximization tactics were the most frequently used (1. maximization tactics were also present in advertisements that used product comparison as a main execution technique. It is notable that these results were somewhat contrary due to apparent theoretical similarities in the concepts (e.34 for five items) as compared to materialistic ones (mean score = .001). p = . p < . This supports previous literature (Schwartz.014) and materialism (r = . 2002). Maximization techniques also correlated with anti-materialism techniques (r = . Advertising has often been accused of creating unnecessary consumer needs and wants and promoting wasteful materialism and consumerism (Fisher.179.03).181.145.29 for four items) and were significantly related to regret tactics. Relationships—Between the Five Techniques Research Question 6 investigated whether there was any relationship between the five techniques themselves. their mutual relationship with social comparison theory as evidenced in Richins. although to a much lesser degree than was obtained using surveys that attempted to understand if a psychological relationship existed between the concepts. As expected. However.205. p = . The results (see Table 4) indicate that maximization and regret techniques were significantly related (r = .031) but not with materialism techniques (r = . p = . Discussion and Conclusion This research attempted to discover the extent to which consumer advertising through sport affects culture and consumption in society. p < . 1991. 1995. also in keeping with past research (Bearden & Rose. and although there was no difference between the use of materialism tactics in online advertisements versus television commercials. The historical and available research evidence suggests that advertising imperfectly reflects our lives. although it can reinforce and hasten the pace of social change (Lantos. A significant relationship was found between social comparison techniques and materialism tactics (r = .. 1968.5 for four items). advertising that promotes this behavior would also be seen as negative. the longer ads in the study (30 or 60 seconds) exhibited more materialistic elements than shorter.335. social comparison (r = . 1995). 1986) and this research supports these accusations.007).001).g. Although maximization behavior in consumers is relatively new. p = .016. Richins. indicating that new (or improved) products tend to use more of the five techniques in an attempt to get initial adoption.082) or with social comparison techniques (r = . 1990. maximization is really only bad for select consumers who have this affliction. other consumers . 15-second ads. Relatively few advertisements in the study depicted antimaterialistic values (mean score = .377. Kirkpatrick.85). it is most often referred to as a negative characteristic for consumers.

recognizing the value of these tactics in television broadcasts. With respect to advertising appeals and executions. 1998). related to the use of a spokesperson. and fear appeals) but also seemed to disagree with other studies. found that celebrity spokesperson had a significant effect on advertising likeability. and maximization between commercials during the online and television broadcasts of the tournament games. thus. Thus. Online broadcasts of sport events provide a rich avenue for advertisers to reach consumers on their terms. have simply transported them to the new online medium. the majority of which provide detailed product information that is extremely valuable to consumers researching purchases. and how they want. (2001). therefore allowing for the continual development of consumer consumption culture. Bush. Economists. Or conversely. in particular the finding. Viewers who consume sport broadcasts online are unique in that they are a simple click away from an advertiser’s Web site. advertisers wishing to reach these valuable consumers will need to shift as well. Martin. where they want. Indeed. In summary. in a consumerist culture. In this regard. it could be construed that advertisers during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament have not yet recognized the importance that celebrity endorsers can play in advertising likeability and in turn on consumer consumption habits. and marketing scholars have all agreed that consumption has assumed such a central role in today’s society that consumerism has become a way of life (Miles. and Tomkovick et al.1470 American Behavioral Scientist 53(10) can actually benefit from the added information that aids in their decision-making process (Schwartz. According to Mackay (1997). maximization. consumption confers honor . in a sense. 2004). indicated that consumer conversion rates increase to 80% when consumers have access to enhanced product information on retail Web sites. a new consumerism has emerged from the early 1980s. social scientists. regret. rely on previously proven tactics rather than discovering or experimenting with new tactics or innovations for the new medium and indeed a new market of online consumers. creating a different era of status consumption. the most significant result is that no difference was found in the use of the five tactics of materialism. and Bush (2004) found that celebrity sport athletes have a positive influence on adolescents’ favorable word-ofmouth and brand loyalty. conducted by WebCollage. in their study on Super Bowl advertisements. People are now more likely to compare themselves with or aspire to the lifestyles of those far above them in the economic hierarchy. the lack of difference between the two media could indicate that advertisers have yet to discover the unique aspects of the online medium as a means of driving consumer consumption and. or lack thereof. The 2007 Survey of Online Consumer Product Research Habits. many of these Web sites often go one step further and provide the means to purchase the actual product. several of the results supported previous research (correlation between regret. It is more important than ever to reach consumers when they want. anti-materialism. Specifically. This indicates that the tactics are used with similar frequency in both broadcasts and that advertisers. individuals’ self-identities are almost exclusively formed and maintained by consumption. As sport fans migrate to new screens for content and information. you become what you buy. Perhaps. social comparison.

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