Does Marketing Products as Remedies Create "Get Out of Jail Free Cards"?

Bolton, Lisa E.; Cohen, Joel B.; Bloom, Paul N.
June 2006
Journal of Consumer Research;Jun2006, Vol. 33 Issue 1, p71
Academic Journal
Our research investigates the marketing of preventive and curative "remedies" (products and services that offer ways of mitigating risk by decreasing either its likelihood or severity). Examples include debt consolidation loans and smoking cessation aids. Like risk-avoidance messages, advertisements for remedies aim to reduce risk-by advocating the use of the branded product or service promoted by the marketer. In a series of experiments, we demonstrate that remedy messages undermine risk perceptions and increase risky behavioral intentions as consumer problem status rises. Ironically, remedies undermine risk avoidance among those most at risk--a boomerang effect with negative consequences for consumer welfare.


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