Long-Term Memory And Print Advertising

Long-Term Memory And Print Advertising

According to Batra, Myers, & Aaker (2000), long-term memory is the ability of individuals to retain information for elongated periods and sometimes permanency, which is an element that is pertinent in marketing of brands. Studies indicate that it is difficult for consumers to create long-term memory given that print media has infinite advertisements. Features such as textual, pictorial, and brand surface determine if consumers will have the capability of forming long-term brand memory. Recency and primacy effects play a role in the determination of such facts, but the latter will take precedence. Studies indicate that brands yield information that is relevant to long term memory. Pictorial surface, on the other hand, is important for the promotion brand memory. It is essential to take caution on textual surface since individuals tend to pay attention to textual information.

Batra, Myers, & Aaker (2000) insist that print advertising is a powerful tool in marketing, which led to an increase in the number of print adverts in magazines and other print media. This is making it difficult to attract attention of consumers. It is not a desirable factor given that brands that advertising that fails to attract the attention the consumer cannot be efficient effective. Eye movement has been the epicenter of research focusing on the ability of consumers to store information in the long-term memory (Cowan, 2001). Eye fixations have been missing in the research, but recent studies indicate that it is an essential element. Eye fixation leads to the storage of information by consumers into the long-term memory especially in the print media. It is the number of fixations that determine the amount of information stored contrary to the common use of their duration. Cowan (2001) states that accumulation of information, in addition, from various fixations to elements in an advertisement is additive. This has the meaning considerable amount of information accumulation will determine latency of brand memory and the accuracy.

Accumulation of accurate memory, according to assumptions, will occur in the instance that information accumulation is more than a threshold varying across consumers and the advertisements. Memory threshold, on the other hand, will depend on the position of the advertisement in the print media and its location on a double page. Studies report that, in magazines, test fixations will not promote the storage of information in the long-term memory. Contrary to this, brand and pictorial fixations, lead to promotion of information storage in the long-term memory in a systematic manner. Comparing brand and pictorial fixations, the brand will have more prominence.

Latency of brand memory depends on information extracted. That is, when there is an increase in extraction of information from an advertisement there is a decrease in latency of brand memory. It is for this reason that there are reports of recency effect that is systematic. In accordance to this, once there is exposure of subjects on an advertisement later, brand identification will be better. Primacy effects as factor given that position of advertisements depend on the context of the advertisement (Batra, Myers, & Aaker, 2000). Research, planning, and testing is vital in the process of advertising so that to increase the effectiveness of given advertisements. Effectiveness may also depend on the exposure periods and studies in such a sector will increase realization of the effects of brands on long-term memory. It will also expand the current knowledge on the effects of long-term memory on brands.

Eye movements include fixation sequence, in addition to small movements that, are corrective in nature. They are discrete periods compared to eye immobility, which comprise of fast jumps during the fixation of locations. It is during fixations that subjects will extract information, which is a reflection of the periods of attention to stimulus. Vision suppression, on the other hand, will occur during saccades. Fixation duration depends directly on a certain feature, and common among the features are the information and the complexity of such information. In fact, advertisement surface is an indispensable mechanical feature, which has an effect on the attention that an advertisement will receive. Surface size, in addition, will increase the likelihood of the advertisement subjects attending to its message. Contrary to the effects of the surface and its size there are little effects on the text despite the later being the epicenter of research regarding long term memory. This because of increased attention to stimuli elements but surface of the advertisement has increased influence on frequency of fixation.

Litman (2004) postulates, variables common to media variables determine the location of advertisements in print affect brand memory. This is possible because it affects brand memory by either increasing or decreasing the threshold of memory. Serial positions of advertisements, which is either front or back, influence brand memory. The latter and page location, which either right or left, fall under control of marketing and influence subjects memory to brands. Research focusing on basis memory indicates that advertisements running front to back is an indicator of primacy while back front is an indication of recency (Litman, 2004). Findings (Litman, 2004) report that serial position reports are ambiguous, and results will vary from positive to and negative. Recent studies eliminate the ambiguity by indicating that the existence of recency and primacy yields positive results.

Numerous tasks favor the usage of indirect memory task. The primary goal of advertising is the promotion of memory for the brands in those advertisements. Rayner (2000) reports that this requires the application of indirect memory rather than direct memory that will lead to the memory of the advertisement. Indirect memory measures have an increased tendency of having lower threshold. This makes having indirect advertising sensitive to effects that are small in media that are highly competitive. In fact, studies indicate that consumers will not invest much in the retrieval of explicit information in their decision-making but rather will depend on indirect information for guidance. It is for this reasons that the conclusion is that application of indirect memory in the marketing industry will be effective compared to having direct memory task (Rayner, 2000).

Studies (Pieters, 2005) report strong evidence of serial position having a recency effect. As the number of pages increases, there is a decrease in threshold leading to increasing memory. Primacy effects are also noteworthy, but studies indicate that recency effects that will produce positive and credible results. Information extracted during single fixation decrease from pictures to brands. It has the meaning that despite brand name having the smallest surface, it will receive more fixations in comparison to text and pictorial (Rayner, 2000). This indicates the importance of fixations of the eye on the elements of brand in building of brand memory. Contrary to this, despite pictorial having neither brand logo nor name, it is pictorial information that produces the relevance of subjects having long-term memory. Information extracted through fixation on pictures have half or less the relevance compared to that of brand name, but it is substantial (Pieters, 2005).

Weitz (2000) states that pictorial surface has relevance to long-term memory of brands. It is notable that lofty prints will tend to be illegible because of pixilation of the advertisement in subject’s memory. Contrary to expectations from this realization, major headlines, and their sub headlines will retain legibility. Texts written in blocks, in addition, have increased recognition, and their texture color and shape will give subject cues for brands (Weitz, 2000). Apart from this, most the information in the text will have no value. It means that fixations on the text will yields information that has no relevance to the promotion of brand and its products. Increasing the relevance of textual information requires use of a large variation of the textual information across consumers and pictorial improving its traces in long-term (Weitz, 2000).

Finn (2004) reports that Starch scores have been finding application in the marketing field for over a century now. It is the basis that marketing managers use in their support of advertisements and planning of media. Research (Finn, 2004) indicates that Starch scores concentrated on the relevance of textual and pictorial features of advertisements. Starch cores present a problem due to their difficulty in interpretation. Application of eye-tracking data presents a better mode of determining the response of consumers to various advertisements designs. Using the latter method indicates that consumer’s respond differently depending on the surface of the advertisement and designs used in the advertisement. Companies tend, on average, use brand surface that are smaller than the pictorial surface (around ten times) and small compare to textual surface (around four times) (Finn, 2004). It is an indication of the precedence that various managers in the marketing industry give to different elements of an advert.

Fixation frequency of brands is lesser in comparison to that of text and pictures. Contrary to this, brand receives more eye fixations compared to textual and pictorial fixations. Reports by Hawley (2008) indicate that, despite studies indicating that brands will receive more fixation, the difference once compared to pictorial and textual are striking. It is an indication that when readers of magazines go through pages, brands will draw disproportional attention compared to other features. Such findings (Hawley, 2008) support the emphasis that companies place on the importance of brand in print advertisements. They also rule out previous studies that gave erroneous results through ignoring the importance of brands in print advertisements. Brands will tend to incur long-term indirect memory aspect on the subject, which makes brand essential features in advertisements (Hawley, 2008). Pictorials are paramount and provide substantial information, but textual surface will require variations over advertisements and consumers its increase the relevance of its information.

Findings (Greene, 2007) indicate that to improve long-term memory it is vital to enlarge name of the brand and pictorial surface and reduce the textual surface. Such strategy requires caution during application. It is necessary to note that though brand name is essential in long-term memory, it has to receive substantial support from pictorial surface. Greene (2007) states that textual element is beneficial given that it receives consumers will pay attention to its message. Heterogeneity of textual surface, in addition, indicates that, in some instances, texts will contribute to increased memory of the brand. According to Greene (2007), primary intention of advertisement is the promotion of brand attention and memory. Brand may have increased sensitivity to wear out and attention in cases of disproportionally large brand names.

There are studies (O’Regan, 2002) on recency effects under the conditions of large information load. When subjects respond to high load of information, current stimuli will displace earlier stimuli from short-term memory, which lowers the possibility of its storage and retrieval later. Current stimuli will lead to retroactive inhibition of long-term memory leading to an increase in effects of recency. The suggestion of this postulate is that marketing managers may prefer placing their advertisements in the final pages of a magazine. O’Regan (2002) indicates that, despite primacy effects having lower incidence levels, they are significant in some instance and print advertisements. This is because primacy effects depend on the context of the advertisement. Location effects are paramount considerations in advertisements. It depends on whether the other page has editorial material or another advertisement. Long-term memory will form in cases of editorial material, but it will be difficult to retain this memory in cases of a competing advertisement (O’Regan, 2002).

Factors that affect long-term memory include its textual surface as well as brand surface and pictorial surface. Primacy and recency effects are indispensable, and this is evident from discussions above that recency effects have more influence compared to primacy (Greene, 2007). From discussions contained herein, it is crucial to note that there is requirement for more studies. This will reveal effects of continued exposure on long-term memory. Current studies have erroneous results, and they omit the relevance of brands in the retention of information. Suggestions indicate that managers seeking to advertise their products might consider having their location at the end of a magazine compared to the first pages. Brand name, in addition, should have increased surface but in a cautious manner since brand memory, also depends on pictorial surface. Textual surface is also crucial given that people will give it more attention compared to pictorial and brand surface.


Batra, Myers, & Aaker, D. A. (2000). Advertising Management. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

O’Regan, J. K. (2002). Reducing the influence of nontarget stimuli on saccade accuracy: Predictability and latency effects. Vision, 27, 227-240.

Cowan, N. (2001). Attention and Memory: An integrated Framework. Oxford: University of Oxford press.

Finn, A.(2004). Print ad recognition readership scores: An information processing perspective. J. Marketing (25), 168-177.

Greene, R. L. (2007). Sources of recency effects in free recall. Psych Bull, 99, 221-228.

Litman, B.R. (2004). Does advertising clutter have diminishing and negative returns? J. Advertising, 26, 31-42.

Weitz, B.A. (2000). The effectiveness of industrial print advertisements across product categories. J. Marketing, 17, 294-306.

Hawley, K. J. (2008). Long-term perceptual memory for briefly exposed words as a function of awareness and attention. J. Experiment Psych: Human Perception Performance, 17, 807-815.

Pieters, R. (2005). Visual attention to repeated print advertising: A test of Scanpath Theory. J. Marketing, 36.

Rayner, K. (2000). Eye movement in reading and information processing: 20 years of research. Psych. Bull, 124, 372-422.