Advertising effects vs. consumer consciousness - Results of an empirical study
The aim of this paper is to review the related literature on consumer protection regulations and the effect mechanism of advertising (as well as its applications), and therefore to define a framework for companies with which they might be able to righteously and ethically inform and influence consumers in achieving their goals. In order to test my hypotheses concerning the factors potentially affecting the level of suggestibility by marketing activities (home, the level of consciousness, the type of consumer decisions, and involvement), a questionnaire survey has been conducted with a total number of 302 respondents, whom are undergraduate students of two Hungarian universities. Based on the results of the survey, we might assert that the consumption habits of university students are deeply rooted in the socialization patterns established in their childhood, still being present during their university years (in this study, observed in the differences of the level of suggestibility by advertising effects, in connection with the place where respondents live); this might be an important aspect when being targeted by the companies´ marketing communication. However, the general opinion of this age-group on consumer consciousness does not appear to be tightly connected to the critical evaluation of the companies´ marketing activity. Later on, in regard to their future consumption habits and behavior, this may lead to consumer protection problems. Hence, in forming consumer consciousness, one of the most important aims of state institutions and NGOs is to improve the consumers´ ability and willingness to gather, and critically evaluate information.