Advertising and product trial: The impact of product type and attribute information on consumer evaluations

Date of Completion

January 2006


Business Administration, Marketing|Mass Communications




Two popular promotional methods, advertising and product sampling, are used by companies to encourage consumers to buy their products. An important body of research has shown that advertising can influence consumers' subsequent trial experience, especially for low diagnostic products for which consumers lack the ability or motivation to confirm (or disconfirm) the ad claims. In this dissertation study, the author investigates the effect of attribute type (search versus experiential), claim objectivity (objective versus subjective) and product type (hedonic versus functional) on consumers' post-trial evaluations (i.e., expectancy values, product attitude, purchase intention, and product choice) of highly diagnostic products. The results indicate that consumers attach greater importance to the experience of a hedonic than a functional product, resulting in more positive post-trial evaluations of the hedonic product. Experiential attribute advertisements also generate more positive post-trial evaluations of a hedonic than a functional product. Further, for functional products, search attribute claims conveyed in a pre-trial ad result in more positive post-trial evaluations than experiential attribute claims or than trial alone. For hedonic products, advertising does not seem to be helpful in guiding product experience; for these products, trial is most important. In the context of these findings, I discuss the contributions to the advertising-trial literature, as well as the managerial implications. I conclude with several limitations of the study and with suggestions for future research. ^