Comparative vs. Noncomparative advertisingPerspectives on memory

Mark Hill, Montclair State University
Maryon King, Southern Illinois University


This research begins by offering a transfer appropriate processing (TAP) view of memory to explain the conflicting findings in the comparative advertising literature involving the potential memory differences between comparative and noncomparative advertising. TAP theory proposes that memory can be explained by the interaction between encoding and retrieval. This study then tests memory from a TAP perspective in a comparative versus noncomparative context. The findings suggest that one form of advertising is not necessarily superior to another in enhancing memory. Additionally, the two broader perspectives of memory, passive versus active, are discussed in relation to the findings. In the process, the question of appropriateness is discussed through which the possibility for conjoining the passive and active views of memory becomes evident. A reconciled view of memory is offered and implications of the research are discussed. Future directions for consumer memory research are also provided.