Location, Location, Location The effect of location on evaluation and aesthetic judgment of off-premise signage

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Jennifer Hong
Mathew Isaac


Academic scholars and practitioners uniformly suggest that off-premise signs such as billboards will be more effective if they are installed in high-traffic areas rather than low-traffic areas. In this research, we question the ubiquity of this claim and illustrate potential advantages of installing off-premise signs in low-traffic areas given that these environments also tend to be less cluttered (i.e., having fewer competing signs). Across two studies, we provide converging evidence that consumers evaluate a billboard more favorably when it is displayed by itself than when it is displayed next to other billboards. We show that the same billboard in a low-clutter (vs. high-clutter) location is judged to be more aesthetic, which in turn improves the overall evaluation of the billboard. We further delineate boundary conditions in which the benefits of a low-clutter environment are attenuated. 

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