Research investigating the development of trial purchase has recognised that the chosen advertising approach is a key influence in the trial process. This thesis describes a critique of the central and related literature surrounding the influence of advertising approach in a trial purchase context, with particular emphasis on the concept of disruptive advertising. This concept can be described as an overturning of convention for commercial benefit, and has been introduced to deal with change. Whilst it is clear that many brands achieve success via a consistent approach to advertising, it is also true that successful advertising is often rooted in 'doing something different'. The literature reveals that there is a lack of empirical work to date on brand/market situations in which a disruptive approach to advertising will be more appropriate and successful than a conventional approach at stimulating purchase or perhaps increasing awareness of a brand. In which situations should a disruptive advertising approach be applied? Phase 1 of the research investigates the possible link between a brand situation, the advertising strategy adopted and the brand success using existing advertising case materials. Focus group interviews are then utilised in phase 2 to gain some understanding of consumer attitudes towards different advertising approaches in different product markets and also to explore brand usage and brand choices in these markets. Content analysis is applied to the results of phases 1 and 2. Finally. phase 3 of the research more specifically investigates the influence of advertising approach on purchase intention within different product markets compared with other primary influencing factors. A questionnaire survey was administered to undergraduate students at the University of Plymouth for phase 3 and the results were analysed using individual item analysis and multiple regression. A generic model of 'The Influence of Advertising Approach in a Trial Purchase Context' is constructed from the literature and a modified version is used to discuss the results of the study. The results indicate that the choice of a disruptive or conventional advertising approach does affect intention to purchase a brand and that the nature of product involvement does influence intention to purchase a brand. However, the research has not been able to provide conclusive evidence as to the situations in which a disruptive advertising approach should be applied and consequently little can be recommended to managers regarding disruption on an operational basis. In addition, the study has provided little evidence to support the concept of disruption other than as an elaborate repackaging of positioning theory. Additional research using non-student populations and a greater selection of low involvement and high involvement markets is recommended, however, in order to validate the relationships found.

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