A Theory of Combative Advertising
In mature markets with competing firms, a common role for advertising is to shift consumer preferences towards the advertiser in a tug-of-war, with no effect on category demand. In this paper, we analyze the effect of such “combative” advertising on market power. We show that, depending on the nature of consumer response, combative advertising can reduce price competition to benefit competing firms. However, it can also lead to a procompetitive outcome where individual firms advertise to increase their own profitability, but collectively become worse off. This is because combative advertising can intensify price competition such that an “advertising war” leads to a “price war.” Similar to price competition, advertising competition can result in a prisoner's dilemma where all competing firms make less profit even when the effect of each firm's advertising is to enhance consumer preferences in its favor. Given such procompetitive effects, we further show that cost of combative advertising could be a blessing in disguise—higher unit cost of advertising resulting in lower equilibrium levels of advertising, leading to higher prices and profits. We conduct a laboratory experiment to investigate how combative advertising by competing brands influences consumer preferences. Our experimental analysis offers strong support for our conclusions.
Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (01-02)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA|
Web page: http://www.informs.org/
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-964.
- Jan-Benedict E. M. Steenkamp & Vincent R. Nijs & Dominique M. Hanssens & Marnik G. Dekimpe, 2005. "Competitive Reactions to Advertising and Promotion Attacks," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(1), pages 35-54, September.
- Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81.
- Nelson, Phillip J, 1975. "The Economic Consequences of Advertising," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 213-241, April.
- Meurer, Michael & Stahl, Dale II, 1994. "Informative advertising and product match," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-19, March.
- Nils-Henrik M. von der Fehr & Kristin Stevik, 1998.
"Persuasive Advertising and Product Differentiation,"
Southern Economic Journal,
Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(1), pages 113-126, July.
- Von der Fehr, N.H.M. & Stevik, K., 1996. "Persuasive Advertising and Product Differentiation," Memorandum 01/1996, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
- Niladri B. Syam & Ranran Ruan & James D. Hess, 2005. "Customized Products: A Competitive Analysis," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(4), pages 569-584, February.
- Nicholas Kaldor, 1950. "The Economic Aspects of Advertising," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 1-27.
- Koen Pauwels & Dominique M. Hanssens, 2007. "Performance Regimes and Marketing Policy Shifts," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(3), pages 293-311, 05-06.
- Bloch, Francis & Manceau, Delphine, 1999. "Persuasive advertising in Hotelling's model of product differentiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 557-574, May.
- Anil Kaul & Dick R. Wittink, 1995. "Empirical Generalizations About the Impact of Advertising on Price Sensitivity and Price," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages 151-160.
- Victor Tremblay & Stephen Polasky, 2002. "Advertising with Subjective Horizontal and Vertical Product Differentiation," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 20(3), pages 253-265, May.
- Gasmi, F & Laffont, J J & Vuong, Q, 1992. "Econometric Analysis of Collusive Behavior in a Soft-Drink Market," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 277-311, Summer.
- Gasmi, Farid & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Vuong, Quang, 1992. "Econometric Analysis of Collusive Behavior in a Soft Drink Market," IDEI Working Papers 16, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Lester G. Telser, 1964. "Advertising and Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 537-537.
- Vinay Kanetkar & Charles B. Weinberg & Doyle L. Weiss, 1992. "Price Sensitivity and Television Advertising Exposures: Some Empirical Findings," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 11(4), pages 359-371.
- Lambin, Jean-Jacques & Naert, Philippe A. & Bultez, Alain, 1975. "Optimal marketing behavior in oligopoly," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 105-128, April.
- Frank M. Bass & Norris Bruce & Sumit Majumdar & B. P. S. Murthi, 2007. "Wearout Effects of Different Advertising Themes: A Dynamic Bayesian Model of the Advertising-Sales Relationship," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(2), pages 179-195, 03-04.
- Hoch, Stephen J & Ha, Young-Won, 1986. " Consumer Learning: Advertising and the Ambiguity of Product Experience," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 221-233, September.
- George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:28:y:2009:i:1:p:1-19. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.