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Indiana University Bloomington

Center for Brand Leadership

Global Reputation

Consumer Marketing Academy students get internships at companies on the who's who list of brand and retail management.

Research & Publications

Journal Articles

The Impact of Advertising Creativity on the Hierarchy-of-Effects

2008, Journal of Advertising

Robert E. Smith, Jiemiao Chen, Xiaojing Yang


This study examines how advertising creativity affects consumer processing and response. First, traditional hierarchy-of-effects (HOE) models are reviewed and then augmented with new developments in advertising and persuasion research to identify five major stages: brand awareness, brand learning, accepting/rejecting ad claims, brand liking, and brand intentions. Theoretical links are identified that predict ad creativity will impact 13 key variables in all five HOE stages. An experiment is conducted that manipulates the two major determinants of ad creativity: divergence and relevance. Results confirm the expected divergence-by-relevance interaction effect for 12 of the 13 variables demonstrating the potency of creative ads (and the ineffectiveness of ads with low creativity). In addition, a test is conducted using structural equations modeling (SEM) to see whether all the effects of ad creativity are mediated through each successive HOE stage. Results show that the HOE’s assumptions hold up reasonably well, although divergence is powerful enough to exert direct (unmediated) effects on brand awareness and brand liking.


Smith, Robert E., Jiemiao Chen, and Xiaojing Yang (2008), “The Impact of Advertising Creativity on the Hierarchy-of-Effects,” Journal of Advertising, Vol. 37, No. 4, Winter, pp. 47-61.