Publication Details

This conference paper was originally presented as Ait El Houssi, A, Morel, KPN and Hultink, EJ, Effectively communicating new product benefits to consumers: The use of analogy versus literal similarity, Proceedings of the Advances of Consumer Research Conference, Portland, United States, 7-10 October 2004.


The main point this study wants to make is that the use of analogies in advertising for really new products is a more effective means of communicating a new product’s distinctive benefits to consumers than is the use of literal similarity comparisons. This hypothesis was tested by means of an experiment with a 3 (comparison type: explicit analogy, implicit analogy, literal similarity) x 2 (product: Auto Mower, Smart Pen) design. The results showed a significant effect of the use of implicit analogy in advertising on consumer’s benefit comprehension for one of the two really new products. The use of analogies in the ads did not increase consumer preference to a greater degree than did the use of literal similarities. We did, however, find a positive effect of benefit comprehension on product preference. We discuss these findings and outline directions for future research.