Although studies have shown that background ad imagery can communicate various concepts to consumers, no research has investigated its effects on perceived ambiguity and newness of the advertised product. Drawing on construal level theory, we address this gap by exploring the psychological mechanism of newness perception. Through four studies, it is demonstrated that background ad imagery associated with coldness (vs. warmth) engenders perceptions of the newness of the advertised product (Study 1) as psychological distance enlarged by coldness enhances perceived ambiguity, a key driver of newness perception (Study 2). Moreover, the effect of background ad imagery on perceived newness manifests when the product style is modern (vs. antique) (Study 3) and subsequently improves product evaluation when consumers plan the purchase in the distant (vs. near) future (Study 4). These findings contribute to building a theoretical framework explaining how newness perception is communicated through advertising.