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Use of Classical Conditioning in Advertising

The use of classical conditioning in advertising has long been used as a means for those who sell products and services to influence consumers to purchase from them instead of competitors. Classical conditioning involves four main components: unconditioned stimulus (UCS), the unconditioned response (UCR), the conditioned stimulus (CS), and the conditioned response (CR). In classical conditioning there is an association which is developed between the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus that prompts the conditioned response. If we use the famous experiment carried out by the founder of classical conditioning, Ivan Pavlov, we find that the UCS would be food in the dogÆs mouth, the UCR would be salivation, the CS would be the bellÆs tone, and the salvation associated with the bellÆs tone is the CR.

Classical conditioning is a form of learning but it is also a form of behavioral change. Advertisers have long relied on its principles to cause consumers to buy one companyÆs products and services over those of another company by achieving a conditioned response in consumers. According to Smith, Feinberg and Burns (1998), ôclassical conditioning is widely used in advertising practicesö (63). While a bell normally does not make an animal salivate, food in its mouth does. By associating the ringing of a bell with ôdinner timeö, Pavlov was able to elicit an emotional response in his dogs that made them associated the bell with food in their mouth. This created the conditioned response of them salivating when they heard the bell because of a learned association. Such a form of persuasion is attractive to advertisers who not only wish to communicate and persuade, but who also hope to change the purchasing habits of consumers. As Grossman and Till (1998) note: ôClassical conditioning has been referred to as the most widely used mechanism of influence on consumersÆ brand attitudesö (23).

If we examine two d...

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Use of Classical Conditioning in Advertising. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 05:47, January 17, 2017, from