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This four-part multi-method investigation into the under-researched yet increasingly prevalent phenomenon of consumer-generated advertising (CGA) confirms a performance advantage over traditional advertising and suggests a rationale for this differential. CGAs benefit from heightened consumer engagement and increased trustworthiness. CGAs also garner perceived quality advantages that are linked to consumers lowering their expectations and using different evaluation criteria to judge the ad. The ad creator—a personalized, identifiable and relatable entity in the case of CGAs— plays a central role in anchoring and shaping ad reactions. The “consumer-made” characteristic—the fact that CGAs are not made by companies but by independent people—is powerful and stands strong in the face of commercial motives, and presents paradigmatic implications for advertising practice and research.


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© Taylor & Francis. Final version published as: Lawrence, B., Fournier, S., & Brunel, F. (2013). When companies don’t make the ad: A multi-method inquiry into the differential effectiveness of consumer-generated advertising. Journal of Advertising, 42(4), 292-307. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.