Does advertising merely reinforce existing brand preferences or can consumers still be triggered to switch brands? This study examined if brand preference explains the use of resistance strategies while watching a television commercial, and if the use of resistance strategies mediates the effects of brand preference on consumers’ attitudes and behaviour (i.e., product attitude, advertisement attitude, and purchase intention). This made it the first research to study brand preference as the possible antecedent of resistance strategies, in combination with its effects on consumers. According to existing literature, consumers dislike information that opposes their existing position or that threatens their freedom. Thus, when people are confronted with an advertisement and this information is not in line with their beliefs, it will elicit more resistance. To resist attitudinal change and to protect their freedom, consumers can use cognitive resistance strategies (i.e., counterarguing) and affective resistance strategies (i.e., negative affect) to not be persuaded by advertisements. It was hypothesised that consumers who have a stronger preference for a brand use less resistance strategies, because the advertisement is congruent to their beliefs. On the other hand, more resistance will be evoked when consumers with weaker preferences for the brand are exposed to the ad. Subsequently, this cognitive and affective resistance negatively affects their product attitude, advertisement attitude, and purchase intention. To test these hypotheses, an online survey was distributed among an existing online panel, containing a television commercial of a toothpaste brand. Among others, questions were asked about respondents’ preference for that brand (prior to exposure to the ad), their attitudes towards the product and the advertisement, and their intentions to purchase that product. The total sample size was 265. The results found direct positive effects of brand preference on consumers’ attitudes and behaviour. However, no effects of brand preference on the use of resistance strategies were found. Nonetheless, resistance strategies did negatively impact how consumers evaluated the product and the advertisement. Moreover, resistance strategies indirectly affected purchase intentions via advertisement attitude and product attitude. Thus, these findings do suggest the importance of both prior brand preferences and the use of resistance strategies on consumers’ attitudes and behaviour. Future research could further explore under which circumstances brand preference does influence the use of resistance strategies. To conclude, it could still be argued that advertising efforts merely reinforce existing preferences rather than stimulate consumers to switch brands.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, business, Advertising, persuasion, brand preference, resistance strategies, attitudes
Thesis Advisor S. Opree
Persistent URL
Series Media & Business
C. van Niekerk. (2019, June 24). Making Consumers Switch: Not as Easy as It Seems? The Effects of Brand Preference and Resistance to Advertising on Consumers’ Attitudes and Behaviour. Media & Business. Retrieved from