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Hard-sell and Soft-sell Advertising Appeals with a 'Polysemic' Difference: A Purposeful Advertising Polysemy Perspective


In our study, the primary research goal is to compare and contrast the effectiveness of three advertising appeals and strategies (hard-sell, soft-sell, and polysemy) and the roles played by these different appeals in our global society. The research explores the concept of polysemy and the generation of idiosyncratic meanings along with hard-sell and soft-sell advertising appeals. It also investigates the impact of these appeals on the African-American target population. The research proposes and measures the 'Advertising Polysemy and Hard-Soft Sell' conceptual framework supported by classical conditioning theory, the dual mediation hypothesis framework, and the presence of primary affective reactions, leading to stronger ad-evoked feelings, ad and brand cognitions, ad and brand attitudes, and purchase intentions. The research presents marketing and societal implications of using advertising appeals and strategies with a special focus on African-American society.