Fear Appeals in Print Advertising: An Analysis of Arousal and Ad Response
Marketing and Fashion Merchandising
This paper examines the tenability of a two-dimensional (tension and energy) formulation of fear arousal effects in the context of print advertising. Intuitively, stimulation of fear parallels a two-part continuum of increasing tension. This exploratory study stems from the theoretical premise that increasing tension generates energy up to a certain point, and beyond that ''threshold,'' increasing tension arouses anxiety which begins to deplete energy. The study examines the effects of two print ad stimuli on the multidimensional structure of arousal, resulting attitude toward the ad and behavioral intention. The results indicate that print ad induced arousal effects fell short of the ''threshold'' point. However, a comparison between fear appeal treatment groups reveals that the stronger fear appeal resulted in arousal effects showing ''progress'' toward the threshold point. Thus, these results lend credibility to the idea of a ''threshold'' separating a two-part continuum of increasing tension. General implications of these results are discussed, and tentative suggestions in regard to the design and use of fear appeals using both print and video stimuli are furnished.
Journal of Advertising
Henthorne, T. L.,
LaTour, M. S.,
(1993). Fear Appeals in Print Advertising: An Analysis of Arousal and Ad Response. Journal of Advertising, 22(2), 59-69.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/6496