The effect of emotionally-arousing ad appeals on memory: time and fit matter

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This research studies the effect of emotional arousal communicated in ad appeals on consumers’ memory of the ad. Isolating and studying the level of arousal–one dimension of affect communicated in the ad, as opposed to valence–we examine the moderating roles of two factors: retention time (i.e., immediate vs. delayed memory) and the fit between ad-arousal and the ad claim. The results of three experiments show that ad-arousal inhibits immediate memory but enhances delayed memory. These effects, however, occur only when the level of arousal communicated in the ad fits the ad claim; whereas when the level of arousal does not fit the claim, ad-arousal does not influence memory. Insights from this research shed light on the boundary conditions of the effect of ad emotional arousal on memory, contributing to the development of an integrative theory on such effects, which can serve as a guide to advertisers in developing effective message strategies in different circumstances.




Riemer, H., & Noel, H. (2021). The effect of emotionally-arousing ad appeals on memory: time and fit matter. International Journal of Advertising, 40(7), 1024–1046.

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