Postprint version. Published in Journal of Consumer Psychology, Volume 12, Issue 4, January 1, 2002, pages 363-373. Copyright © 2002 Society for Consumer Psychology. All rights reserved. Journal home page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/713950/description#description.
It is commonly argued that although rewards induce behaviors, they undermine attitudes and motivation for subsequent action. This perspective has been applied in a consumer setting to suggest that sales promotions such as coupons will undermine consumer brand evaluations and brand loyalty. Instead of focusing on the undermining effects of promotional rewards, this research applies the availability valence hypothesis (Tybout, Sternthal, & Calder, 1983) to predict and explain when rewards will enhance recipient response. Two experiments demonstrate that an immediate reward from a product-related source enhances product evaluations by making favorable information more accessible than unfavorable information. Promotions enhance the relative accessibility of favorable information when their benefits are directly experienced and the salience of the promotion’s task-contingency is diminished by maximizing consumer behavioral freedom.