The influence of message framing and issue involvement
The research in the reading reveals that people are highly risk averse when messages are framed positively and more focus on benefits gained such as saving lives. They will risk seeking when messages are framed negatively and more focus on benefits lost (i.e. losing of lives). The level of involvement will affect on the type of framing used to persuade people effectively.
According to Levin, Meyerowitz and Chaiken (1987), message framing uses either on positive product attributes and benefits gained though product usage or negative product attributes and benefits lost by not using the product.
An example is breast self-examination (BSE) for young women, whereby the same message can be framed to focus on positive aspects (i.e. Women can detect tumour early by doing BSE) or on negative aspects (i.e. Women have less chances to detect tumour at an early stage). Both types of framing convey the same message but in a different perspective.
Maheswaran and Meyers-Levy (1990) highlighted in their research that under high involvement conditions, the advocacy is more persuasive when the message is framed negatively and when under low involvement conditions, it is more persuasive when the message is framed positively.
Through figure 1, we can understand that in high involvement condition, negative framing produced more favourable attitudes and greater intentions to comply with the message given, whereas in the low involvement condition, positive framing will produce more favourable attitudes and greater intention to accept.
Overall, we can deduce that attitudes and intentions are higher when issue involvement is high than when the issue involvement is low.
Maheswaran and Meyers-Levy (1990) also highlighted in their research that generation of top-of-mind thoughts is greater when issue involvement is high and the generation of simple evaluative thoughts is greater when issue involvement is low.
More positive thoughts were generated when message framing was positive and more negative thoughts were aroused when message framing was negative.
When issue involvement was low, people will not process the message thoroughly and make judgement based on their attitudes on simple inferences. Hence, they will find the advocacy more persuasive when message framing was positive.
When issue involvement was high, people will use detailed processing on the message and make judgement based on normative and unbiased responses and thus, more weight is assigned to negative message due to scepticism towards positive message. Hence, they will find the advocacy more persuasive when message framing was negative.
Maheswaran and Meyers-Levy (1990) suggested that marketers might be advised to utilise negatively framed messages when audience involvement with an ad issue is high and utilise positively framed messages when the audience has casual interest.
There are several factors that are likely to influence audience involvement:
1) Product category (i.e. top designer merchandise)
2) Media communicate the ad (i.e. print media, TV)
3) Particular vehicle in which the ad is place (i.e. TV Guide, Health magazine)
Can you name an advertisement that is negatively framed with high audience involvement? Or what other factor you can think of that can influence audience involvement?
Maheswaran, D., & Meyers-Levy, J. (1990). The influence of message framing and issue involvement. Journal of Marketing Research, 27, 361-367