Construal-level mind-sets and the perceived validity of marketing claims

Abstract

Prior research shows that the repetition of unfamiliar statements increases their subjective truthfulness. The present research shows that truth ratings can also be increased without repetition. Several different manipulations of low-construal-level mind-sets increased the perceived validity of a wide variety of marketing claims across a broad spectrum of products and industries. Mismatched construals reduced this effect. The results suggest that concrete construals enhance truth ratings when consumers focus on their intuitive feelings and impressions but not when they process marketing claims analytically.

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Correspondence to Scott Wright.

Appendix: marketing claims

Appendix: marketing claims

Study 1

  1. 1.

    Time Warner is the largest cable company in the world.

  2. 2.

    Rogaine with Minoxidil has been proven to re-grow hair for 75% of its users.

  3. 3.

    Pottery Barn offers high quality products at affordable prices.

  4. 4.

    Burt’s Bees is made from all natural ingredients and is more effective than other leading brands.

  5. 5.

    Simply Orange is the purest, most natural orange juice on the market.

  6. 6.

    Chewing a stick of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum after every meal is equivalent to brushing your teeth.

  7. 7.

    New 3D televisions have been shown to cause headaches and nausea.

  8. 8.

    Burger King only uses recycled material for the packaging for its products.

  9. 9.

    eBay ensures that no counterfeit products are sold on its site.

  10. 10.

    Products from Walmart are better than products from Target.

  11. 11.

    Eating Natural Vision’s vitamin and mineral supplement can improve eyesight.

  12. 12.

    Traveling with Delta Airlines will get you to your destination faster than other airlines.

  13. 13.

    Scotts LawnPro Lawn Fertilizer guarantees a lush, beautiful lawn.

  14. 14.

    Allstate offers the cheapest auto insurance.

  15. 15.

    On average, people catch more fish per hour using the Bass Pro Shop’s XPS Fishing rod than any other rod.

Study 2

  1. 1.

    Apidexin can help you lose weight easily.

  2. 2.

    GEICO insures over 100 million vehicles.

  3. 3.

    Advanced Night Repair of Estée Lauder can completely help shield skin from environmental assaults.

  4. 4.

    One ShamWow towel can hold as much as 1.5 gal of water.

  5. 5.

    Diet soda burns more calories than regular soda.

  6. 6.

    Apple—where tradition is everything.

  7. 7.

    In some countries the Twinkie is considered a delicacy.

  8. 8.

    Toyota products are the highest with respect to reliability, safety, and longevity.

  9. 9.

    Starbucks invented the “iced” coffee.

  10. 10.

    Toyota—where reliability never stops.

  11. 11.

    Brad Pitt was the highest paid actor in 2009.

  12. 12.

    Cannon cameras are the highest quality.

  13. 13.

    Crest—the anti-aging toothpaste.

  14. 14.

    South America has had the fastest-growing economy in the world for the past three decades.

  15. 15.

    Gatorade replenishes electrolytes 50% better than any other electrolyte restoring drink on the market.

Study 3

  1. 1.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) a BMW 3 series will cost roughly twice what a Ford Expedition costs.

  2. 2.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) TaylorMade golf clubs hit the ball farther than any other clubs.

  3. 3.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) Tide Laundry detergent contains the best cleaning agent.

  4. 4.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) station wagons get better gas mileage than SUVs.

  5. 5.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) chewing Jolt gum makes you as alert as consuming a 16 oz energy drink.

  6. 6.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) eating Chipotle can aid in weight loss.

  7. 7.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) Kitchen-Aid knives are 95% stronger than most other knives on the market.

  8. 8.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) Iams makes the healthiest dog food on the market.

  9. 9.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) it would make it even easier for Chinese firms to purchase American goods if China lowered the value of its currency.

  10. 10.

    (Yesterday/Last year) (you discovered that/a friend told you that) the new Chevy Malibu gets 35 mpg on the highway.

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Wright, S., Manolis, C., Brown, D. et al. Construal-level mind-sets and the perceived validity of marketing claims. Mark Lett 23, 253–261 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-011-9151-4

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Keywords

  • Construal-level theory
  • Mind-sets
  • Truth ratings