To get an idea of how the mere exposure to an ad has an effect on implicit memory, researchers surveyed park visitors using photographs.6 Participants were shown pictures of places of interest in order to determine if they were suitable for tourism promotions. One group was shown a photo that also had a billboard ad for Pfeffi, a made-up brand of candy, but their attention was not drawn to it. The second group was shown pictures of places that did not feature the billboard.
At the end of the survey, people were then asked to choose between two candies offered at the same time, Pfeffi and Zitro (a made-up brand of lemon candy not shown to them before).
In the study, those from group one mostly chose Pfeffi candy, showing that repeated exposure to the ad led to a preference for what was advertised. Demonstrating how strong the exposure effect was, the control study revealed that when there had been no exposure to Pfeffi in the photographs, the clear preference was for the lemon Zitro candy.
These results show the impact of how even the mere exposure to an ad can influence preferences and choices.