Predicting handbill avoidance in Hong Kong and the UK

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: Handbills are an interesting advertising medium since they are distributed by people in a social context. Little, however, is known about why handbills are often avoided. This study was designed with the purpose of extending previous research on advertising avoidance by using social psychological variables to explain consumers' avoidance of handbills in Hong Kong and the UK. Design/methodology/approach: A survey of 337 individuals was conducted (166 in Hong Kong and 171 in the UK). A series of hypotheses relating to perceived handbill clutter, perceived goal impediment, and the perceived manner of the distributer were tested. Findings: Perceived handbill clutter was found to be the strongest predictor of handbill avoidance in both Hong Kong and the UK. The second strongest predictor was perceived goal impediment. The perceived manner of the distributor did not predict handbill avoidance in Hong Kong, but it did predict handbill avoidance in the UK. Research limitations/implications: The study's methodology has a number of limitations. First, the measure of the distributor's perceived manner may not have directly tapped the distributor dimensions of importance to handbill avoidance. Second, no account was taken of non-response bias. The model also did not recognize that there may be other variables capable of explaining handbill avoidance. Practical implications: The results suggest that effort is needed to raise the perceived value of handbills so that their perceived value neutralizes any perceptions of goal impediment. In addition, handbill designers need to find creative ways to stand out from the clutter. In the UK, deportment should be considered when distributors are recruited and trained. Originality/value: Handbills are frequently used as a promotional tool. In two contrasting countries, this study found that perceived handbill clutter, perceived goal impediment, and perceived manner of the distributer influence handbill avoidance. The research has extended theoretical knowledge related to advertising avoidance and generated insights that are likely to be of practical value to marketers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)132-146
    Number of pages15
    JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Marketing

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Advertising
    • Marketing activities
    • Marketing communications


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