What is product involvement?
Some scientific insights
To make less obvious advertising work, it should meet an appropriate goal of the consumers (Bermeitinger et al. 2009; Karremans, Stroebe, and Claus 2006; Strahan, Spencer, and Zanna 2002). This not only reffers to current needs. The consumer should rather have a basic need to pursue the goal (Sela and Shiv 2009). In addition, the advertisement should appeal to the consumer’s experiences that can trigger the goal or at least support it (Bargh, Chen, and Burrows 1996; Dijksterhuis et al. 2000; Dijksterhuis and van Knippenberg 1998) – this not only appeals to the situation but also to the product.
Involvement is “a person’s perceived relevance of the advertisement based on inherent needs, values, and interests” (Zaichkowsky 1985) and therefore a motivational construct that is based (among other things) on the values and needs of a person (Zaichkowsky 1986). Accordingly, product involvement is a good way to draw conclusions regarding the conditions in the context of subliminal advertising, as this also consideres needs as well as goals. Moreover, depending on the used scale, it is well measurable (Zaichkowsky 1985, 1994).
At the same time, product involvement is closely connected to the construct of “Consideration Set”, as the involvement theory is based on the fact that consumers do not rationally consider every detail when making a purchase decision – it is even more relevant what importance they give to a product based on their individual needs (Zaichkowsky 1985). Involvement determines how many resources consumers invest in their decision-making process and the search for information, which in turn can affect their consideration set (Howard and Sheth 1969; Laurent and Kapferer 1985).
When consumers are highly involved with the product, recognition of a product placement and also defensive reactions are more likely to occur (Gardner, Mitchell, and Russo 1985; Zaichkowsky 1986).
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