Designing the Content of Advertising in a Differentiated Market (CEIBS Working Paper, No. 006/2020/MKT)

Yi Xiang, David A Soberman

Research output: Working paper

91 Downloads (Pure)


In many markets, consumers use detailed attribute information to assess the value they expect from purchasing a product or service. Markets that Öt this description include LED monitors, wine, some OTC healthcare products, mattresses and automobile tires. In these markets, quality di§erences exist yet many di§erences are horizontal in nature: the consumer is interested in Önding a product that meets her unique tastes. Beyond ensuring that consumers know the brand, the category and the price; in these markets, it seems advertising should provide consumers with detailed attribute information. However, a signiÖcant proportion of advertising does not provide it. In fact, within the same category, competitors respond to messages that emphasize detailed attribute information with messages that are devoid of attribute information. These messags are uniformative about product attributes. We explore how competition in a di§erentiated market is a§ected by the ability of a Örm has to choose uninformative messages. We construct a model to investigate the factors that a§ect a Örmís decision to use advertising with detailed attribute information or advertising that does not provide attribute information. The model demonstrates that content decisions about advertising are a§ected by the di§erences between products, the range of heterogeneity in consumer tastes and the degree to which costs increase as a function of the quantity of information in advertising. Surprisingly, even when the cost to increase the quantity of information in advertising is low, uninformative campaigns can be more proÖtable than campaigns with detailed attribute information. The analysis also demonstrates that Örms may be more likely to provide detailed attribute information when there are less consumers that are attribute-sensitive. Finally, the model shows that uninformative messages can create "artiÖcial di§erentiation" in some conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 1 Jan 2020


China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)


  • Uninformative messages
  • advertising content
  • horizontal di§erentiation
  • matching


Dive into the research topics of 'Designing the Content of Advertising in a Differentiated Market (CEIBS Working Paper, No. 006/2020/MKT)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this