A key decision required of advertising managers is whether a “hard-sell” or “soft-sell” strategy is appropriate for a specific target market. The hard-sell approach involves the use of direct, forceful claims regarding the benefits of the advertised brand over competitors’ offerings. In contrast, the soft-sell approach involves the use of advertising claims that imply superiority more subtly.
One positive aspect of the hard-sell approach is its use of very simple and straightforward product claims presented as explicit conclusions, with little room for confusion regarding the advertiser’s message. However, some consumers may resent being told what to believe and some may distrust the message. Resentment and distrust often lead to counterargumentation and to boomerang effects where consumers come to believe conclusions diametrically opposed to conclusions endorsed in advertising claims. By contrast, the risk of boomerang effects is greatly reduced with soft-sell approaches. One way to implement the soft-sell approach is to provide information that implies the main conclusions the advertiser wants the consumer to draw, but leave the conclusions themselves unstated. Because consumers are invited to make up their own minds, implicit conclusions reduce the risk of resentment, distrust, and counterargumentation.
Recent research on consumer memory and judgment suggests another advantage of implicit conclusions. Beliefs or conclusions that are self generated are more accessible from memory than beliefs from conclusions provided explicitly by other individuals, and thus have a greater impact on judgment and decision making. Moreover, self-generated beliefs are often perceived as more accurate and valid than the beliefs of others, because other individuals may be perceived as less knowledgeable, or may be perceived as manipulative or deliberately misleading.
Despite these advantages, implicit conclusions may not always be more effective than explicit conclusions. One risk is that some consumers may fail to draw their own conclusions and thus miss the point of the message. Inferential activity is likely only when consumers are motivated and able to engage in effortful cognitive processes. Another risk is that some consumers may draw conclusions other than the one intended. Even if inferential activity is likely there is no guarantee that consumers will follow the path provided by the advertiser. Finally, a third risk is that consumers may infer the intended conclusion but question the validity of their inference.
1、It can be inferred from the passage that one reason an advertiser might prefer a hard-sell approach to a soft-sell approach is that
A.the risks of boomerang effects are minimized when the conclusions an advertiser wants the consumer to draw are themselves left unstated
B.counterargumentation is likely from consumers who fail to draw their own conclusions regarding an advertising claim
C.inferential activity is likely to occur even if consumers perceive themselves to be more knowledgeable than the individuals presenting product claims
D.research on consumer memory suggests that the explicit conclusions provided by an advertiser using the hard-sell approach have a significant impact on decision making
E.the information presented by an advertiser using the soft-sell approach may imply different conclusions to different consumers