|Cigarette boxes with an affixed self-made cigarette label displaying graphic images are pictured in the shop of tobacconist and kiosk owner Janine Schulzki in Berlin February 9, 2013. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch) |
A warning in an ad that a product may cause serious side-effects such as illness and death may actually increase sales rather than scare off consumers, new research suggests.
A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that consumers only heed side-effect warnings immediately after seeing an ad. Over time, they actually seek out the seemingly dangerous product.
Ziv Carmon of the INSEAD business school had study participants watch cigarette ads, some of which warned that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema.
But those who were given the opportunity to buy cigarettes a few days later actually bought more if the ad they'd watched included warnings.
The experiment yielded the same results with artificial sweetener.
"This effect may fly under the radar since people who try to protect the public - regulatory agencies, for example - tend to test the impact of a warning shortly after consumers are exposed to it," Carmon said. "By doing so, they miss out on this worrisome delayed outcome."
Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.