Opportunity Knocks: An Economic Analysis of Television Advertisements

Tasnádi, Attila and Hanks, Andrew and Smith, Trenton G. (2010) Opportunity Knocks: An Economic Analysis of Television Advertisements. Working Paper. School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University.

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Certain 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 suggests it is "psychological" in nature, as opposed to "informative". To understand the economic rationale for incorporating such material, we develop a theory of preferences in which information about threshold payoffs induces sudden shifts in demand. These threshold payoffs are best understood in the context of human evolutionary history. Furthermore, the presence of threshold payoffs in consumer preferences gives firms incentive for providing threshold-type information. To examine the use of threshold-related content in television advertisements, we look for this con- tent in a sample of 370 television advertisements. We find considerable evidence that advertisers make strategic use of threshold-type content in television advertisements. Specifically, threshold-related content occurred 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 isn’t true for food and beverage advertisements for general audiences.

Item Type:Monograph (Working Paper)
Series Name:WP 2010-18
Uncontrolled Keywords:endogenous preference, evolution, threshold utility, non-convexities
Subjects:Mathematics, Econometrics
ID Code:575
Deposited By: Ádám Hoffmann
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 12:45
Last Modified:18 Oct 2021 09:21

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