Advertisements will often try to encourage consumers to imagine they are in a situation where they can benefit from the product being advertised. However where the ad wants consumers to benefit someone else, getting them to imagine themselves in that person’s situation can conflict with the image they have of themselves as a helper.
This can decrease the effectiveness of the ad. Five experiments were conducted to test this theory. Results revealed that when participants considered the appeal for help, characteristics that increased the ease with which they were able to imagine the situation, such as a photo of the victim, had a positive effect on their willingness to help and on the amount of money donated.
Journal of Marketing Research, June 2009, pp421-434
Imagine yourself in their place
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