behaviour, it also offers new advertising opportunities (Cauberghe & De Pelsmacker, 2006). One of them is the telescopic advertisement. This format consists of a “30-second TV ad with a call-to-action button with clickable content or micro sites featuring individual still screens providing additional product information” (Bellman & Varan, 2004, p. 2). When the viewer clicks on the call-to-action button, he or she leaves the linear broadcast stream to enter a dedicated advertising location (DAL). There, the viewer can navigate through the additional information, which can be structured in different layers. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of two aspects of the complexity of a telescopic ad by experimentally manipulating the amount of information and the level of interactivity in the DAL. Additionally, the role of time spent in the DAL is explored.
Advertising Complexity and Information Load
To keep the consumer’s interest focused on a persuasive message, an appropriate level of complexity is recommended (Putrevu, Tan, & Lord, 2004). Complexity has been identified as one of the major dimensions of information load. An increase in information load generates a positive effect on information processing until a certain threshold is reached, at which the consumer will be overloaded with information. At this point the consumer will no longer consider additional information and will become confused, and it is harder to recall previous information (Lang, 2000). The effects of complexity and information load follow an inverted U shape, by which a moderate level of complexity leads to the most optimal advertising results (e.g., Geissler, Zinkhan, & Watson, 2006; Martin, Sherrard, & Wentzel, 2005; Wang, Chou, Su, & Tsai, 2007).
Amount of Information
The effect of the amount of information follows an inverted U shape (e.g., Meyer, 1998), leading to negative effects in decision quality when too much information is provided. Although an increase in the quality of the additional information decreases message complexity, increases the credibility of product information, and leads to a positive effect on decision making (Keller & Staelin, 1987), increasing the quantity of information leads to an increase in complexity and can, due to limited cognitive capacity and information overload, lead to confusion and negative evaluative effects after a certain threshold is reached (Lang, 2000). In the present study, the quantity of information in the DAL is manipulated, keeping the quality constant. Therefore, the following can be expected.
H1: A high amount of information in the DAL leads to lower brand recall and a less positive brand attitude than a low amount of information.
Level of Interactivity
Interactivity has the capability to develop feelings of flow, “an intrinsically motivated optimal enjoyable mental state” (Csikszentmihalyi & Lefevre, 1989). This mental state increases the cognitive involvement with the interactive content due to focused attention and the possibility for consumers to take control over the time, structure, and order in which they want to be exposed to the information (Liu & Shrum, 2002); it also increases the processing of the information presented in the interactive context (e.g., Chung & Zhao, 2004; Macias, 2003; Sicilia, Ruiz, & Munera, 2005). The intrinsically motivated joy evoked by flow may be transferred to the persuasive message and brand, leading to a positive effect on the attitude toward the ad, brand attitude, and purchase intention (Chung & Zhao; Ko, Cho, & Roberts, 2005; Macias, 2003). Therefore, we expect the following.
H2: A high level of interactivity in the DAL leads to higher brand recall and a more positive brand attitude than a low level of interactivity.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Dedicated Advertising Location (DAL): A DAL contains clickable content featuring individual still screens providing additional product information.
Cognitive Overload: Cognitive overload occurs when the volume of information supply exceeds the information processing capacity of the individual.
Interactive Digital Television (IDTV): IDTV is the merging of the Internet and television.
Interactivity: It is human-to-human interaction that places the emphasis on two-way communication, mutual discourse, feedback, and so forth, and message-to-human interaction, which is related to aspects of content such as user choice, user (information) control, structure, and so on.
Telescopic Ad: It is a 30-second TV ad with a call-to-action button and clickable content or microsites featuring individual still screens providing additional product information.
Stimulus Complexity: This refers to the amount of variety and diversity in a stimulus pattern.
Flow: Flow is an intrinsically motivated, optimal enjoyable mental state leading to increased attention, cognitive involvement, and a feeling of fun and escapism.