Learn from Michael Jackson: Repeat it, and Beat it!

The study “The impact of Ad Repetition and Ad content on Consumer Perceptions of Incongruent Extensions” by Lane R.(2010) emphasizes the importance of repetition. When consumers are exposed to advertisements several times, they tend to be more positive towards a brand or product shown in advertisements. One-exposure to an advertisement may mislead the perceiver.

“Repeated exposure to advertisements should be critically important because ad repetition can enhance the amount and valence of message elaboration, magnifying the advertisement’s positive impact” (Anand et al., 1990).

How the study is done
The study consisted of 109 participants who were exposed to brand extension advertisements from Heineken, Crest, Keebler and Michelin. These advertisements were shown either one or five times. Participants were randomly assigned to one or repeated exposure. Also there has been a divide made by congruent and incongruent brands.

In the end, all participants saw four brand extension advertisements, all of which were either congruent or incongruent and were viewed either one or five times as their treatment. After being exposed to all options, participants completed the 7 points surveys about dependent measures of (1) evaluation and usage; (2) thought protocols; (3) incongruity, fit, and beliefs; and (4) demand artefact check.

The results
The results of this study show significant influences established by repetitions. After repeated exposure, the participants are evaluating more positively, have more positive usage intention, improved consistency judgements and more ad-evoked thoughts.
All in all “With repeated exposure to advertisements that evoke appropriate brand associations, consumers eventually respond substantially more favourably to incongruent extensions than they do at first exposure” (Lane, 2000).

Repetition in real life
Let’s take a look to a real life example in which we see the importance of repetition: the music industry.
In songs, repeating the chorus multiple times makes it easier to process a song and this improves likeability and popularity. This is reflected in the Billboard top 100, an American list of the 100 ‘hottest’ songs. Nunes et al.(2015) found that repeating the chorus of a song improves the likelihood of a song making it to the number 1 position.

“The mere exposure effect is defined as an increased stimulus liking due to increased exposure” (Zajonc, 1968). “The repetition of the chorus, however, happens within the stimulus This effect explains for example why people like a song more after hearing it often or why familiarity with a song increases when the song spends more time in the hit charts” (Russel, 1987).

An example of a song that reached the number 1 position in the Billboard top 100 is Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”. The song was part of the best selling album “Thriller” and is one of the 500 greatest songs of all times according to “Rolling Stone magazine”. In the song, the chorus is repeated ten times and the words ‘Beat it’ are repeated 71 times. 71 times! So REPEAT IT, AND BEAT IT!


Anand, Punam and Brian Sternthal (1990), “Ease of Message Processing as a Moderator of Repetition Effects in Advertising,” Journal of Marketing Research, 27 (August), 345–53.

Lane, V. R., 2000. The impact of Ad Repetition and Ad content on Consumer Perceptions of Incongruent Extensions. Journal of Marketing, 4, Issue 64, pp. 80-91.

Nunes, J.C., Ordanini, A., Valsesia, F. (2015). The power of repetition: repetitive lyrics in a song increases processing fluency and drive market success. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25 (2), 187-199. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057740814001260

Russell, P. A. (1987). Effects of repetition on the familiarity and likability of popular music recordings. Psychology of Music, 15, 187–197. http://pom.sagepub.com/content/15/2/187

Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Monograph Supplement, 9, 1–27. http://psycnet.apa.org/?&fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/h0025848


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