With regard to attitude accessibility, what are some of the ways that an attitude can become highly accessible, and what are some marketing ploys one might use to try to make people’s attitudes...

With regard to attitude accessibility, what are some of the ways that an attitude can become highly accessible, and what are some marketing ploys one might use to try to make people’s attitudes about a product highly accessible?

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In social psychology...

…[an] attitude can be formed from a person's past and present […] with a positive or negative evaluation about people, objects, events, activities, etc.

An attempt to better understand attitudes is complex to say the least. For example, is the attitude "deliberately formed," or is it the result of a subconscious response? Explicit attitudes (we can infer) are more easily observed than those that are implicit.

From a marketing standpoint, attitude accessibility is related specifically to advertisements and how the advertiser attempts to connect with the viewer/consumer. Attitudes are important when looking to assess and tap into consumer behavior.

…the attention given to the attitude construct stems from the fact that much advertising can be described as social influence attempts aimed at creating positive attitudes toward the product.

In order to entice the consumer to purchase in a manner that provides success (profit, brand recognition, etc.) to the product provider, having a clearer understanding of the power of persuasion has also been studied.

The assumption underlying such persuasive attempts is that the development of positive attitudes will produce a corresponding change in behavior.

Studies such as these are geared to better comprehending how to guide or even manipulate the action of the consumer. And in so investigating behavior, arguably one would be best served to study attitudes as they are related to behavior—based on the premise that attitude drives behavior in the market place. Perception is closely connected with attitude, especially in terms of previous experience with a product. Perception refers to how a person currently feels about an object. 

If a company can tap in to attitudes (and perceptions) toward products, then the selection process a consumer goes through would ostensibly be more predictable—a favorable situation for the product provider, who can gear advertising toward a positive attitudinal response. Accessing a consumer's attitude is, in essence, being able to predict how a consumer will respond to a product and capitalize on this knowledge regarding the manner in which the product is presented so that greater numbers are "consumed."

Attitude can be highly accessible when emotions are involved. This is seen with advertisers who are trying to reach an audience based upon what the audience members believe and/or how they feel:

Emotion works hand-in-hand with the cognitive process, or the way we think, about an issue or situation. Emotional appeals are commonly found in advertising, health campaigns and political messages.

Two specific examples of "marketing ploys" are noted. One is the recent campaign to make people want to stop smoking or never start. The ads are geared not only to the act of smoking and its connection to lung cancer (and death), but also to how smoking can exacerbate other health issues, such as diabetes. The other example cited was a political campaign that used a fear of terrorism to influence how people would vote—in this case, capitalizing on fear, greatly heightened after the attacks of 9-11.

By activating an affective or emotion node, attitude change may be possible...

While we might not see a health campaign as a ploy, but might easily consider a politically-based ad as a tricky maneuver, in both cases the advertising company is attempting to access attitudes and manipulate viewers to react in a desired way.

In advertising that daily bombards the television viewer, many things are used to make people's attitudes more easily accessible. This is done by concentrating on data gathered with regard to the viewing public for specific kinds of programming. For instance, if television program is geared to the family, ads for diapers that include fuzzy bears and adorable babies will most likely find a more receptive audience. However, if a survivor-type reality show is playing, the audience is less likely to see the same advertisements. Perhaps one would see [at least one] car ads, workout ads, etc. The advertisers have garnered enough information to know that kittens, puppies, babies, and weddings will appeal to a certain audience for one kind of program, but that for another program fast cars, glamorous women and dating ads will fare better. Looking at the "Super Bowl" ads demonstrates the diverse nature of the viewing public for that event: beer, soda, computer, snack, and car commercials, as well as other engaging ads will often pull in people not even interested in the game as much as the commercials aired during this time…often considered the best ads of the entire viewing year.

Regardless of the advertisement, being able to access attitudes enables a marketing firm to strategically plan campaigns that will resonate in some way with the most viewers (or listeners) to effect the public's behavior. The intent is that when the checkbook (or debit card) comes out, the consumer will remember the ad and choose to place his or her confidence based upon the ad that is memorable (especially one that elicits an emotional response)…but not necessarily promoting the "best" product, service, etc.