Drawing from theories of social cognition and perception, the effects of information consistency and distinctiveness implied by semantic cues in reference price ads are examined in a 2 (Levels of Distinctiveness) × 2 (Levels of Consistency) × 3 (Levels of Reference Price) between‐subjects experimental design. Both the reference‐price level and the perceived distinctiveness of information implied by the semantic cue had significant effects on internal price standard and attitudinal and perceptual dependent variables. Consistency information had no effect. Competing rationales drawn from assimilation‐contrast theory and anchoring and adjustment effects on judgment are offered as bases for reference‐price predictions. Results reveal that reference‐price level had a monotonic effect on most dependent variables, and thus are more consistent with effects predicted by anchoring and adjustment rationales.