The Effect of the Content of Arguments on the Boomerang Effect of Negative Political Advertisements Cover Image

Uticaj sadržaja argumenata na pojavu bumerang-efekta negativnih političkih reklama
The Effect of the Content of Arguments on the Boomerang Effect of Negative Political Advertisements

Author(s): Dijana Hrkalović, Ivana B. Petrović
Subject(s): Political psychology, Comparative Psychology
Published by: Филозофски факултет, Универзитет у Београду
Keywords: Negative political ads; Backlash effect of negative ads; evaluation of political candidates; political involvement; Elaboration Likelihood Model

Summary/Abstract: The so-called “boomerang effect” of negative political advertising is an unwanted backlash effect of a negative statement about the opponent that reflects more unfavourably on the sponsor than the intended target of such a negative ad. The inconsistency of previous findings on the appearance of the boomerang effect of negative political advertisements calls for shedding new light on the “boomerang effect” and the justification of the stigmatization of negative political advertisements themselves. The aim of the study is to examine the effect of the content of arguments of printed negative political ads on the “boomerang effect” in voters with high levels of situational political involvement, who are in general not politically involved. The emerging of the boomerang effect was analysed by using the Elaboration Likelihood Model. An experimental design 2 (candidate status: sponsor – target of the ad) x 2 (content of the argument of a negative political ad: political platform – personal characteristics of the target) has been applied. The boomerang effect has been confirmed, both for the arguments relating to the political platform and the arguments of a negative political ad related to the personal characteristics of the candidates. The boomerang effect was stronger for the arguments based upon the political platform of the target. In addition, both the sponsor and the target were evaluated less favourably based on the negative ad with the personal characteristics of the target. The obtained findings confirm that in political persuasive communication one should not apply negative ads, especially not the strategy of evoking personal characteristics of the political opponents (targets) in negative connotation, not just due to the boomerang effect, but also due to the overall negative effect on the voters in general.

  • Issue Year: 21/2018
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 5-21
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Serbian