Schema Strength, Processing Opportunity, and the Rewarding Nature of Incongruity Resolution in Advertising

Georgios Halkias*, Flora Kokkinaki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Extant literature calls for more research to identify the boundary conditions as well as the process underlying the effects of ad messages that violate specific brand beliefs. This paper examines different levels of ad–brand incongruity, considering brand schema strength and processing opportunity as factors that influence the perception and the resolution of incongruity. Moreover, it provides empirical evidence for the process mediating attitudinal responses to ad–brand incongruity. Experiment 1 shows superiority for moderately incongruent ads over congruent and extremely incongruent ads which is eliminated when participants have a weak, as opposed to a strong, brand schema. Experiment 2 replicates the nonmonotonic pattern for strong, real brands but further shows that low processing opportunity favors congruent ads. Mediation analysis reveals that the psychological satisfaction experienced during the ad interpretation process has an asymmetric mediating effect, such that moderate levels of ad–brand incongruity generate highest levels of satisfaction which then leads to more positive responses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Advertising
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)415-438
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Information incongruity
  • Schema strength
  • Processing opportunity
  • Satisfaction
  • Nonlinear mediation

Cite this