The Curious Case of Behavioral Backlash: Why Brands Produce Priming Effects and Slogans Produce Reverse Priming Effects
Five experiments demonstrate that brands cause priming effects (i.e., behavioral effects consistent with those implied by the brand), whereas slogans cause reverse priming effects (i.e., behavioral effects opposite to those implied by the slogan). For instance, exposure to the retailer brand name “Walmart,” typically associated with saving money, reduces subsequent spending, whereas exposure to the Walmart slogan, “Save money. Live better,” increases it. Slogans cause reverse priming effects and brands cause priming effects because people perceive slogans, but not brands, as persuasion tactics. The reverse priming effect is driven by a nonconscious goal to correct for bias and can occur without any conscious mediation (i.e., following subliminal exposure to the word “slogan”). These findings provide evidence that consumer resistance to persuasion can be driven by processes that operate entirely outside conscious awareness.
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