Document Type

Journal Article

Department/ Unit

Department of Marketing


Purpose – The aim of the research reported in this paper was to identify for which types of products and services consumers find the advertising to lack credibility and in which media this effect is most serious. The association between self-esteem and skepticism towards advertising was also explored. Design/methodology/approach – Using a structured questionnaire, 200 Hong Kong shoppers were surveyed in mall intercept interviews. Findings – The results showed that ads for weight-loss products were considered the least credible. The broadcast media (radio, broadcast television and cable television) were considered the most credible advertising media, while direct mail and the internet were considered the least credible. Self-esteem was found to be positively related with skepticism towards advertising. Research limitations/implications – The study had two key limitations. First, the list of products and services was not exhaustive. Second, the study did not consider how frequently the interviewees were exposed to each medium. Practical implications – By recognizing the credibility of their advertisements and the media in which they are placed, and the influence of self-esteem on advertising skepticism, the findings are of use to advertisers in formulating their strategies. The findings also provide information of value for policy makers trying to combat non-credible and deceptive advertising. Originality/value – The primary contribution from this work comes in the form of methodological considerations. This is the first study to consider the relationships between self-esteem and skepticism after controlling for socially desirable responding. Also, this study takes a broader perspective by looking at credibility of advertising across a range of products and media, and with a broader audience, than has been considered in previous research.

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Journal Title

Journal of Consumer Marketing

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Advertising, Advertising media, Hong Kong, Product attributes, Self esteem

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Marketing Commons