Opportunity Knocks: An Economic Analysis of Television Advertisements
AbstractCertain aspects of advertising–especially on television–are not easily explained with conventional economic models. In particular, much of the imagery and repetitive thematic content seen in advertisements seem “psychological” in nature, as opposed to “informative.” To understand the economic rationale for this phenomenon, we develop a theory of endogenous preferences in which information about threshold payoffs (which we interpret as being present over the course of human evolutionary history) induces sudden shifts in demand. We show that the resulting demand functions give firms incentive to provide threshold-related information. To examine the use of threshold-related content in practice, we study a sample of 370 television advertisements. We find occurrences of threshold-related content in 83% of food and beverage advertisements for children and in 71% of advertisements for general audiences. Furthermore, the threshold-related content in children’s food and beverage advertisements occurred with statistically greater frequency than factual content, which was not true for food and beverage advertisements aimed at general audiences.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2010-18.
Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
endogenous preference; evolution; threshold utility; non-convexities;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-11-27 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Attila Tasnádi & Trenton G. Smith & Andrew S. Hanks, 2012.
"Quality Uncertainty as Resolution of the Bertrand Paradox,"
Pacific Economic Review,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(5), pages 687-692, December.
- Attila Tasnadi & Trenton Smith & Andrew Hanks, 2010. "Quality Uncertainty as Resolution of the Bertrand Paradox," Working Papers 2010-1, School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.
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