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Not so personal
The impact of social identity ad appeal as a  function of activation in advertising

Dikla Perez, Yael Steinhart

March 2014


Literature review

The right ad appeal will generate positive advertising effect.

Pending problem

past research on personalization and activation effectiveness in advertising yielded mix findings.

(Nowak et al.1995;Yu and Cude, 2009, Wells and Petty,1980, Steinhart, 2011).


Research conclusion

The combination of activation and social identity ad appeal  has a positive effect on advertisement evaluation and on consumer choices.

Our Hypothesis

Name appeals are likely to generate greater perceived privacy concerns and less engagement with an ad, compared with social appeals and general appeals. Engagement with an ad including activation will be greater than engagement with an ad with no activation. A social identity appeal ad is more likely to enhance product evaluations and the probability of choosing the advertised product than a name appeal or a general appeal, in the presence of activation than in the absence of activation. Privacy concern mediates the joint effect of appeal type and activation on product evaluation.



Figure 1: Figure 1 presents a scheme of hypotheses 1-3.

Study I - Razor Ads 
As ad for inexpensive razor including a name appeal, with and without activation 

A: Name appeal with activation 

B: Name appeal without activation 

Study II - Herbal Tea Ads
Ad for herbal tea including a social identity appeal, with and without activation

A: Social identity appeal with activation

B: Social identity appeal without activation

Study III - Smart car Ads
An ad for a Smart car including a general appeal, with activation (a click on the arrow reveals the conveyed message) and without activation: 

A: General appeal with activation

B: General appeal without activation


Based on the findings in this research, advertisers may be advised to avoid approaching consumers using their first names, but instead lean more toward addressing their social identity, such as place of residence, country, or academic status. Moreover, they are advised to apply sophisticated techniques when approaching consumers in a general manner or when addressing their social identity.

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