Overcoming lower imagery ability through process priming

Massimiliano Ostinelli*, Ulf Böckenholt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


To promote services and products, marketers often prompt consumers’ imagination through advertisements that include imagery appeals (e.g., “Imagine yourself here”). Yet, previous research shows that these appeals are ineffective among consumers with lower imagery ability who find it difficult to imagine the scenes presented in the advertisement. In five studies, we show that this difficulty of imagination associated with lower imagery ability and the consequent ineffectiveness of imagery appeals can be overcome through process priming and, specifically, by positioning ads that include imagery appeals after stimuli that trigger (i.e., prime) imagery processing. These findings provide a practical solution to the downside of imagery appeals and document a new effect of process priming. Furthermore, we provide preliminary evidence that, in light of the results presented in this paper, the current placement of imagery appeals in popular magazines might be suboptimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)799-812
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • Imagery ability
  • Imagery appeals
  • Mental imagery
  • Process priming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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