Can consumers’ scepticism be mitigated by claim objectivity and claim extremity?

Tan’s (2002) analysis of consumer view of advertisements is based on idea that not all commercials are believable or provide the true picture of commodities depicted therein.

Tan has specifically listed for qualities of effective advertisement. First, the commercial has to be believable in consumer eyes; second, the ad needs to be credible passing message; third is that consumers need to see the product being advertised as highly desirable and therefore lead to making purchase decisions.

Fourth, the commercial needs to be of greater informational value to consumers. This means that effective advertisements are the ones which provide consumers with new information that helps in decision making processes. Poor information leads to the making of wrong choices that make consumers to avoid the advertised products and even respective company’s goods again.

At worst, consumers have greater influence on each other and could therefore lead to fast spreading information on how specific company advertisements happen to be duping consumers to purchase defective products. Such occurrence has a long term effect on respective company’s revenue and market share.

Consumer watchdogs might further start investigating the accused company and cause disruption in production and marketing processes. The management would end up wasting valuable time attending to hearings with authorities instead of developing long term strategies for their businesses.

In understanding that consumers are generally skeptic of advertisers’ messages, Tan has gone further to explain that products are key victims of incredibility compared to services.

In other words, consumers are more likely to believe advertisements on services and less on those involving services. Marketers should in this regard make extensive use of Integrated Marketing Communication (ICM) initiatives in ensuring that advertisements are truthful and provide important information to consumers.

Effective commercials are the ones which call on marketers restrain themselves from developing ads that overstate respective products; it is better to have commercials whose messages seem to undermine product effectiveness. Consumers who purchase such products end up being awed by their effectiveness and therefore develop loyalty.

ICM has a role of diluting consumer skepticism over advertisements and should be used for that purpose by marketers (Kim 2006). In fact, marketers need to be on the forefront of ensuring that messages contained in ads are completely believable. Secondly, they have to liaise with senior management to ensure the development of organizational culture that involves developing and submitting ads helpful to consumers.

This is in understanding that truthful advertisements that help consumers get the right products and services is usually the first step in developing long term relationship with manufacturers (FCC 2000). Repeat business that would be generated by such positive ads could further help companies generate the much important brand loyalty.

In addition, consumers satisfied with the advertised products end up becoming marketing tools as they embark on influencing others in respective sphere of influence to purchase the truthfully-advertised products.

Tan (2002) further observed that consumer skepticism over advertisements changes with age, with the younger populations (especially from adolescents mid thirties) being more skeptic, whereas the older population are more likely to believe advertisements. Individual companies’ marketing teams should therefore ensure that ICM techniques are used to effectively address the target market.


FCC, 2000, Truth-in-Advertising Public Forum. Available At:   

Kim, Y., 2006., Consumer Skepticism and Ad Credibility. Available At:

Tan, S. 2002. Can consumers’ scepticism be mitigated by claim objectivity and claim      extremity? Journal of Marketing Communications. Vol. 8, pp. 45-64

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