© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Purpose – Consumers frequently find themselves having to choose between various product brands that differ in price and quality. The purpose of this paper is to examine several possible factors that may affect this choice: message framing of the choice as either gain or loss of money or quality, consumer involvement, and consumers’ perceived monetary and quality gains. Design/methodology/approach – In all, 837 participants from Portugal, Turkey, and Israel were randomly assigned to a positively or negatively framed message regarding the quality or price of two alternative brands of sunscreen lotion. Findings – As expected, highly involved consumers show a higher preference for the better and more expensive product than less involved consumers, while perceived monetary or quality gains mediates this relation. Challenging previous findings, negative framing of loss avoidance affects perceived gains and brand choice more than positive framing only for less involved participants, rather than for highly involved ones. Research limitations/implications – Although the results were replicated in three different countries, future research of message framing context on other products is needed, as well as research in the context of goal framing. Practical implications – If indeed future research would replicate the higher effectiveness of positive framing among highly involved consumers, retailers should consider that in planning their product promotion strategy. Originality/value – This study challenges the current literature regarding the effect of message framing on message and the moderating role of involvement.