Campbell, M. C., Mohr, G. S., & Verlegh, P. W. J. (2013). Can disclosures lead consumers to resist covert persuasion? The important roles of disclosure timing and type of response. Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcps.2012.10.012

Abstract: While sponsorship disclosure is proposed as a remedy for covert marketing, i.e., tactics such that the persuasive nature of the communication is not clear to consumers, little is known about whether or when disclosures prompt consumers to correct for persuasion. Three experiments reveal that covert marketing, in the form of subtle product placements, can increase brand recall and attitudes but that both instructions to avoid influence and mere disclosure of sponsorship can lead to correction. The first experiment demonstrates that consumers are able to correct both brand attitudes and stated recall when there are instructions to avoid influence. The following two experiments show that mere sponsorship disclosure can evoke use of persuasion knowledge for correction. However, disclosure timing differentially influences correction for recall and attitudes. Disclosure prior to exposure to the covert marketing tactic leads only to correction for effects on recall; attitude is as high with a prior disclosure as with placement with no disclosure. Disclosure after placement provides general correction of the impact of the covert marketing tactic on both recall and attitudes.