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Professor Bob Fennis on the the psychology of advertising

17 June 2010
Advertising is meant to seduce us into buying wanted and sometimes unwanted products. The question is: does that work? What messages "get across" and when and why, and what messages don't? Bob Fennis, appointed as professor in Consumer Behaviour at the FEB as of 1 June, published the book "The Psychology of Advertising", togehther with  Wolfgang Stroebe (University of Utrecht). This book provides an overview of what we currently know about the impact of advertising on our memory, our wishes and preferences, and our behaviour.

Advertising is a ubiquitous and powerful force, seducing us into buying wanted and sometimes unwanted products and services, donating to charity (even to causes we have not heard of before), voting for political candidates (even of questionable reputation), and changing our health-related lifestyles for better or worse. The impact of advertising is often subtle and implicit, but sometimes blatant and impossible to overlook.

‘Feeling of self-control’
Consumer behaviour and how consumers are influenced are at the heart of Fennis' research. when do consumers give in, when do they resist and how do marketers try to break such resistance? "I focus on the psychological processes that play a role in influencing and the resistance to influence", says Fennis. "These preocesses also play an important role in advertising and other forms of marketing communications. The ‘feeling of self-control’ in consumers is a central concept. Consumers who are tired after a long day of working, or who are busy with mutiple tasks at the moment of influencing, have less self-control to resist advertising, and thus become vulnerable."

The Psychology of Advertising
The book the Psychology of Advertising, co-written with Wolfgang Stroebe, discusses key topics from the fields of social and consumer psychology. Important questions are addressed such as: What impact does advertising have on consumer behaviour? What causes this impact? What are the psychological processes responsible for the effectiveness of advertising? How do consumers make sense of advertising messages? What messages "get across" and when and why?  This is the first book to offer a comprehensive and state-of-the-art overview of the psychological findings on the impact of advertising, and to discuss this research in the context of recent developments in the fields of social and consumer psychology. It presents and discusses results of both classic and contemporary studies in an engaging style that avoids highly technical language.

Curriculum vitae
As of 1 June, dr. B.M. Fennis (Tilburg, 1968) has been appointed as professor in Consumer Behaviour at the Marketing department of the Faculty of Economics and Business.  He studied social psychology at the University of Utrecht and communication science (cum laude) at the Radboud University Nijmegen. In 1999, he obtained his PhD in Utrecht with a dissertation entitled ‘Health on television: Studies on the content and effects of mass media messages’. This research focused on the image and the effects of health advertisement on television. Fennis worked as senior research and communication advisor for the Ministry of Transport and Public Works and as senior consultant at Boer & Croon Coporate Communication. In 2001, he became a university lecturer at the VU University Amsterdam. Since 2004 he was Associate Professor at the University of Twente and at the University of Utrecht.
Last modified:25 October 2019 11.14 a.m.
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