How source credibility and message claims interact in determining advertising effectiveness

Marisa Guillama, Florida International University


Credible endorsers are often used in advertisements. However, there is conflicting evidence on the role source credibility plays in persuasion. Early research found that source credibility affects persuasion when subjects pay attention to the communication. Other research indicates that a credible source enhances persuasion when people do not scrutinize the message claims carefully and thoroughly. This effect is opposite to what was indicated by early research. More recent research indicates that source credibility may affect persuasion when people scrutinize the message claims, but limits this effect to advertisements with certain type of claims (i.e., ambiguous or extreme claims). This dissertation proposes that source credibility might play a broader role during persuasion than suggested by the empirical literature. Source credibility may affect persuasion, at low levels of involvement, by serving as a peripheral cue. It may also affect persuasion, at high involvement, by serving as an argument or biasing elaboration. Each of these possibilities was explored in an experiment using a 3 (source credibility) x 2 (type of claim) x 2 (levels of involvement) full factorial design. The sample consisted of 180 undergraduate students from a major southeastern University. Results indicated that, at high levels of involvement, the credibility of the source affected persuasion. This effect was due to source credibility acting as an argument within the advertisement. This study did not find that source credibility affected persuasion by biasing elaboration, at high involvement, or by serving as a peripheral cue, at low involvement.

Subject Area

Marketing|Mass media

Recommended Citation

Guillama, Marisa, "How source credibility and message claims interact in determining advertising effectiveness" (2000). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9991048.