Under Certain Circumstances, a Warning Label Can Boost Sales

Smokers who saw a cigarette ad that also warned about the risk of smoking bought fewer packs than those who hadn’t seen the warning, unless they were told the packs would be delivered 3 months later. Under those circumstances, people who saw the warning bought 6 times more packs than those who hadn’t seen the warning, says a team led by Yael Steinhart of Tel Aviv University. The warning message increased the ad’s trustworthiness, an effect that became more pronounced when there was a long time lag between the warning and the behavior it was aimed at; the higher trustworthiness boosted sales.


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