A Hong Kong study of advertising credibility

Gerard Prendergast*, Po-yan Liu, Derek T. Y. Poon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)
    158 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: The aim of the research reported in this paper was to identify for which types of products and services consumers find the advertising to lack credibility and in which media this effect is most serious. The association between self-esteem and skepticism towards advertising was also explored. Design/methodology/approach: Using a structured questionnaire, 200 Hong Kong shoppers were surveyed in mall intercept interviews. Findings: The results showed that ads for weight-loss products were considered the least credible. The broadcast media (radio, broadcast television and cable television) were considered the most credible advertising media, while direct mail and the internet were considered the least credible. Self-esteem was found to be positively related with skepticism towards advertising. Research limitations/implications: The study had two key limitations. First, the list of products and services was not exhaustive. Second, the study did not consider how frequently the interviewees were exposed to each medium. Practical implications: By recognizing the credibility of their advertisements and the media in which they are placed, and the influence of self-esteem on advertising skepticism, the findings are of use to advertisers in formulating their strategies. The findings also provide information of value for policy makers trying to combat non-credible and deceptive advertising. Originality/value: The primary contribution from this work comes in the form of methodological considerations. This is the first study to consider the relationships between self-esteem and skepticism after controlling for socially desirable responding. Also, this study takes a broader perspective by looking at credibility of advertising across a range of products and media, and with a broader audience, than has been considered in previous research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)320-329
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2009

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Business and International Management
    • Marketing

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Advertising
    • Advertising media
    • Hong Kong
    • Product attributes
    • Self esteem


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