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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Testing the Ability of Advertisement Background to serve as a Retrieval Cue for Brand Memory

Published: May 28, 2019


Nicolas Noack, University of Duisburg-Essen; Benjamin Serfas, University of Duisburg-Essen; Oliver Büttner, University of Duisburg-Essen


print advertisement; brand memory; background


Brand knowledge is one of the key factors of brand equity (Keller, 2016). Advertisements are one way to increase this knowledge by connecting the brand with new information. One aspect that is yet to be effectively used in advertisements to increase brand memory is the background. We suggest that the background can function as a useful recall cue for consumers to help them retrieve a brand name from memory by being incorporated into the knowledge about the brand. In two studies, we show that brand memory increases when more attention is devoted to the background instead of the focal objects (study 1) and when there is a match in content between brand and background (study 2). To measure the attention devoted to the background we track participants eye movements in study 1 and show that a broad attention leads to an increase in attention on the background as well as better brand recall. Overall, our data suggest that the background can be utilized to help consumers remember a brand.