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9.The role of ‘satisfaction’ in purchasing and repurchasing fast food

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The role of television advertising on intention to purchase fast food among children and teens


Fast food industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the service sector. This industry gives United States more than $200 billion annually in revenues. With an expected growth rate of 2.5 percent, there is increased confidence among customers and investors in this sector. More than 200,000 fast food restaurants provide more than 4 million people as consumers pride on their quality price and taste (Franchiser, 2016). However, the food is highly processed and major concerns have emerged on obesity levels of consumers. Nevertheless, fast food restaurants have excelled in speed, affordability and experience. Some of the leading companies include McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Taco Bell and Burger King. Cost differentiation strategies is widely used in marketing to price sensitive consumers especially children and teens. The leading segments are hamburger focused restaurants with more than 30 percent market share followed by pizza parlors at 15 percent (Fast Food Facts, 2013). Other segments are sandwich ships, chicken restaurants and Mexican restaurants. The product content is mainly meat, cereals and vegetables. While there has been concerns over obesity of children in the US and Australia, fast foods use advertising as a powerful medium to drive purchases and repurchase intentions of its customers. The concept 1 in this case will be ‘advertising’. Common platforms include child-driven websites, TV and mobile apps. Advertising is the key concept in this case that informed concept 1 in the essay. What is the influence of advertising on purchasing and repurchase intention of fast food customers?

Concept 1: Advertising

Advertising is a social construct between consumers and the company. The high repurchase rate of fast food is as a result of innovation in advertising that helps to keep abreast with the changing tastes and preferences. For example, McDonalds is exploiting a number of TV ads to drive purchasing in its stores. Inflow of consumers and advertising strategies has a relationship. In fact, television has been an influential medium in appealing to certain consumer segments. The use of traditional advertising media seems such as television seems to be powerful to children and teens despite the emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Literature review was undertaken to understand the role of advertising in fast food and a number of empirical findings are as shown in the table below.


Chou, et al. (2008)

Used longitudinal survey of 170 respondents aged 3-11 years.

Advertising is positively related to consumption of fast food and obesity. Exposing children to advertising increases their desire to consume.

Reisch, et al. (2013)

Cohort study of 16,225 children aged 2 to 10 years from 5 countries in Europe

Television advertising is positively correlated to child’s preferences, diets and food knowledge. Food choices is influenced by accessibility, affordability and availability

Tat, et al. (2011)

Survey study of 358 students from a university in Malaysia

Satisfaction and service quality of fast food restaurants affect customer referrals through word of mouth advertising, which in turn affects repurchase intentions of customers

Huang & Dang (2014)

Exploratory factor and regression analysis of 260 respondents from a beverage restaurant in Taiwan

Promotion and advertising impact the purchase intentions of coffee drinkers

Huang & Yang (2010)

Qualitative survey

Advertising exposure increase household purchasing. Advertising exposure to children on fast foods may not be reduced by restricting child-directed advertising.

Laroche, et al. (1996)

Systematic analysis

Advertising increase brand familiarity which in turn enhances purchase intention

Varalakshmi, et al. (2013)

Survey of 125 customers of McDonalds

In-store visits are influenced by company’s advertising strategy, product assortment and consumer preference

From the table above, most of the researchers on the mention advertising in fast foods chose to investigate ‘advertising and obesity’ (Chou, et al. 2008; Reisch, et al. 2013). This shows that ads, especially run in major television stations influence the tastes and preferences of viewers. Ads have power to transforms products into leading brands. For example, as children watch a certain fast food ads being run on television; they develop positive attitudes and the intention to buy the product (Huang & Yang, 2010). On the other hand, in comparison, advertising through word of mouth is more powerful than TV ads. According to Huang and Dang (2014), most of the coffee customers in Taiwan became first time drinkers because existing customers made favorable testimonials about the coffee outlets. This indicates that word of mouth advertising has the capability to drive purchase intentions of customers.

Similarly, Huang and Yang (2010) observes that although there has been a major drive by government department in charge of regulating advertising, restricting direct advertising to children did not reduce their exposure to fast foods and thus their purchase intentions. Indeed, advertising has the power to increase brand familiarity and in turn influence the intentions of customers to purchase. Take for instance the observations by Laroche, et al. (1996) that customers once aware of existence of certain product in the market will develop positive attitudes and intentions to purchase. Advertising is one way to aid customers in information search, during purchase alternatives and in the actual purchase. Television advertising has been given a lot of attention by most researchers and it would be important to narrow into Tv ads and how they influence the purchase and repurchase intentions of fast foods.

Concept 2: Intention to purchase

Television advertising is targeted at customers who intent to purchase or first time customers. Since most fast food restaurants understand that customers are much more likely to make repeat purchases, the target of the ads is mainly to get the attention of first time customers. This means that there is need to investigate the ‘intention to purchase fast food’ as a variable dependent on television advertising. Intention underscores the desire to consume due to favorable brand equity, brand preferences, positive attitude and consumption experience.

Parent theory X

Advertising as a concept is influenced by attitude theory. Attitude theory is informed by the theory of reasoned action and theory of flow of experience. Attitude towards an ad leads to a change of attitude towards the content (Park & Young, 1986). Adverts are convincing and can lead to customers to switch or warm up to a product. This means that advertising is analogous to development of a positive mental attitude and curiosity. Ads create a certain self-image, and if the viewer connects the actual image of what is advertised and what their real self are, then they most favorably identify with the product. The TV viewer then develops the urge or desire to try or identify with the product by showing intentions or interest to buy the product (Ippolito & Pappalardo, 2002). Therefore, television advertising influences the behavior (intention) of the prospective customers. This is because ads trigger curiosity which then leads to development of a positive attitude towards a product which in turn leads to intentions to purchase.

Relationship between television advertising and intention to purchase fast food

Television ads have the potential of drawing a lot of viewership to a number of services and products from companies. To examine the relationship between television advertising and intention to purchase fast food, a list of literature search was undertaken and the results provided in the table below.


Statistical significance

Duffet (2015)

Facebook advertising positively influenced the behavioral attitudes (purchase and intention to purchase) of Millenials (20-25year olds) residing in South Africa.

Du Plessis (2005)

Positioning of commercials, unconscious influence and memory influence attitudes of generation Y and hence their purchase decisions

Grullon, et al. (2004)

TV ads /commercials have major influence on customers mind or intention to purchase

Television advertising sparks customer desire leading to a unique personality for a brand

Mandan, et al. (2013)

TV advertising affect satisfaction of customers which affects perceived value and in turn affect behavioral intention

Catanescu and Tom (2001)

TV ads have a positive correlation with attitude for food consumption in children. The channels uses more humor than the print media

From the literature search above, it is evident that television advertising has a lot of influence on the intentions to purchase fast food among children and the Millenials (those aged between 20 and 25 years). The study finds that television advertising is a common medium to all age groups and while online advertising is gaining ground, there is a strong TV resilience. Of particular interest are the findings of Du Plessis (2005) that the positioning of commercials, unconscious influence and memory influence are important in influencing attitudes. This is also consistent with the attitude theory that desire is evoked from a medium after which the viewer develops the attitude towards the product.

Duffet (2015) found that Millenials are influenced to a greater by social media ads which do not indicate whether the target group could be influenced by TV advertising. Also, Mandan, et al. (2013) found an indirect correlation between TV advertising and behavioral intentions to purchase. With the three authors; Du Plessis (2005); Grullon, et al. (2004) and Catanescu and Tom (2001) is possible to conclude that television advertising when combined with that of Reisch, et al. (2013), Huang & Dang (2014) and Varalakshmi, et al. (2013) have a positive impact on behavioral intentions to purchase fast foods.


Based on attitude theory on the theory of reasoned action and flow of experience, and the review of various literatures above, this study proposes that TV advertising positively influences the intentions to purchase fast food among children and teens.


This study found that there is a positive relationship between television advertising and the intention to purchase fast food among children and teens. Television advertising creates humor and sense of appeal especially to young consumers. Since young consumers love fast food, then it is potent to imply that television advertising would be the best or most suitable platform to influence the purchase intentions of this customer target group. TV ads positioning has a lot of influence on the unconscious and memory of viewers to an extent that they create positive attitudes towards the product being advertised. The study can establish that one of the drivers of intentions to purchase is advertising, and in this case it is television advertising. The study observes that television stations influence the tastes and preferences of viewers. Ads have power to transforms products into leading brands.


Catanescu, C. & Tom, G. (2001). Types of humor in Television and Magazine advertising. Review of Business, 22(2): 23-34.

Chou, S. Y., Rashad, Y. & Grossman, M. (2008). Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity. Journal of Law and Economics, 51(4): 599-618.

Du Plessis, E. (2005). The advertised mind. Ground-breaking insights into how our brains respond to advertising. London: Cogan Page. Milward Brown Agency.

FastFood Facts (2013). Fast food facts in Brief. http://www.fastfoodmarketing.org/fast_food_facts_in_brief.aspx.

Franchiser (2016). Fast Food Industry Analysis 2016.

Grullon. G, Kanatas.G and Weston.J.P. (2004). Advertising, breadth of ownership and liquidity. the Review of Financial Studies, 17(2): 439-461.

Huan, Y.F. & Dang, H.S. (2014). An Empirical Analysis on Purchase Intention on Coffee Beverage in Taiwan. European Journal of Business and Management, 6(36): 182-194.

Huang, R. & Yang, M. (2010). Buy What Is Advertised on Television? Evidence from Bans on Child-Directed Food Advertising. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 26 (2): 202–220.

Ippolito, P.M. & Pappalardo, J.K .(2002). Advertising Nutrition and Health: Evidence from Food Advertising. Washington, DC. Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Economics.

Laroche M., Toffoli, R., Kim, C., Muller, T.E. (1996). The influence of culture on pro- environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors: a Canadian perspective», in Corfman, K.P., Lynch, J.G. (Eds), Advances in Consumer Research, Association for Consumer Research, Provo, UT, 23(1): 196- 202.

Mandan, M., Hossein, S. & Furuzandeh, A. (2013). Investigating the Impact of Advertising on Customers’ Behavioral Intentions. Business and Economic Research, 3(1): 48-54.

Park, C. W., & Young, S. M. (1986). Consumer Response to Television Commercials: The Impact of Involvement and Background music on Brand Attitude Formation. Journal of Marketing Research, 23(1): 11-24.

, 20(2): 34-56. Journal of Obesity. Reisch, L.A., Gwozdz, W., Barba, G., Henauw, S., Lascortz, N. & Pigeot, I. (2013). Experimental Evidence on the Impact of Food Advertising on Children’s Knowledge about and Preferences for Healthful Food

Tat, H.H., Sook-Min, S., Ai-Chin, T., Rasli, A. & Hamid, A.B. (2011). Consumers’ Purchase Intentions in Fast Food Restaurants: An Empirical Study on Undergraduate Students. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(5): 215-219.

Varalakshmi, T., Divya, D. & Chaitra, M.T. (2013). An Empirical Study on Effectiveness of Mc Donald TV Advertorials Towards Mounting Consumers in-Store Visits. International Journal of Scientific research, 2(10): 1-4.