FACULTY RESEARCH: Hope Inspires Bystander Intervention

Temerlin’s Dr. Sid Muralidharan and Dr. Carrie La Ferle have published a follow-up to their 2019 study, which explores emotional appeals in public health messaging to mitigate domestic violence in India.  According to UN Women, a global database on violence against women, India reports a 288% lifetime rate of physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, compared to 29% in the U.K., 269% in Argentina, and 38% in Turkey. These wide-ranging domestic violence rates by country underscore the importance of research for domestic violence prevention messaging.

The original study, published in the Journal of Advertising, found shame messaging, compared to guilt, to be the more effective message to inspire bystander intervention. In the follow-up study recently published in the Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, Dr. Sid, associate professor, and Dr. La Ferle, the Marriott Endowed Professor of Ethics and Culture, compare shame to hope in public service announcement messages. This study finds that bystanders are motivated to act when hope, more so than shame, messaging is utilized. “Social marketers would benefit from crafting domestic violence prevention messages that are framed with a strong hope appeal, i.e., a positive outcome of saving the victim will be achieved by calling the helpline,” Dr. Sid explains. For bystanders, hope is the key to motivating action through goals, agency, and pathways; therefore, marketers have to integrate these three components in their messaging. In other words, saving the victim from further abuse (goal) can be achieved by providing a helpline number (pathway), and the anonymity and ease of calling the helpline will increase motivation to help (agency).

While advertising is often perceived as a way to sell goods, the importance of research on domestic violence prevention messaging underscores for society the ethical component of advertising. Dr. Sid and Dr. La Ferle teach courses such as Advertising as a Cultural Force, Advertising Society and Ethics, and Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship to Temerlin’s undergraduate and graduate students. Through their ongoing research, Temerlin professors play an active role in providing solutions to serious issues.

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Willie Baronet on Human-Centered Design

Temerlin Professor Willie Baronet began buying signs from the homeless in 1993 to connect and learn more about the journey of those on the streets, which eventually led to the WE ARE ALL HOMELESS project. “Like many, I wrestled with whether or not I was doing good by giving them money,” says Baronet. “Mostly I struggled with my moral obligations and how my own choices contributed, in conscious or unconscious ways, to the poverty I witnessed. I struggled with the unfairness of the lives people are born into, the physical, mental and psychological handicaps. In my struggle, I avoided eye contact with those on the street, unwilling to really see them, and in doing so avoided seeing parts of myself. That began to change once I began asking them if they would sell their signs.” Twenty-seven years later, he has collected around 2000 signs, which he uses to raise awareness for the homeless through events and exhibitions.

Earlier this year, Baronet was featured in a group exhibition, Houseless, at the Anchorage Museum. Some 500 collected signs were on display as part of a larger conversation: Could artists use design to find solutions to combat homelessness? According to the museum, “Design thinking helps break down complex problems and integrate new information and opinions while acknowledging there is no one right answer. The Houseless project provides a space for awareness, education and creative problem-solving around housing security in our own community. It supports individuals and communities in problem-solving together.” The exhibit concluded last month and included events such as Houseless Panel Conversation: Problem-Solving Through Design and Intersections of Domestic Violence and Homelessness for artists and the community to engage in a dialogue to discuss these challenging issues. Baronet’s cross-country sign collecting documentary, Signs of Humanity, was also featured as part of this exhibition.

More recently, Baronet was featured on Fox News regarding the second annual Home Is A Journey march, which took place November 14 at SMU to raise awareness about homelessness, compassion, gratitude and privilege. The event collected donations for two Dallas-based nonprofits, The Bridge and Vogel Alcove, that support the local homeless community. Participants also assisted with the socially distant assembly of blessing bags (snacks to hand out to the homeless) and learned about the Dallas homeless community through various speakers at the event. Home Is A Journey concluded with a march across campus in which each masked participant silently carried a homeless sign. Baronet explains, “It is important to recognize privilege, especially now. It’s also important to see each other as humans. I hope that WE ARE ALL HOMELESS provides inspiration and resources for students and our community to connect with those on the fringes of society.”

Baronet finds a direct correlation between this passion project and teaching creativity in advertising. “First, homeless signs are one of the purest forms of advertising,” he says. “Second, as a creative project, it is a great example of how creativity IS problem-solving and that creating compelling content is the best way to persuade people. This past year, one of the posters I designed for a WE ARE ALL HOMELESS exhibit was accepted into the Communication Arts Design Annual, the most prestigious design competition in the world. It’s hard to find a stronger intersection than that.” In addition, many of Baronet’s students volunteer outside of class with some aspect of the project, whether it’s helping kids at a workshop, assisting with an installation, or participating in the Home Is a Journey march across campus.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVES: Corporate Racism in the Flesh

How One Person’s Viewpoint Can Topple a Whole Organization

Kayla Griffis

By Kayla Griffis
B.A. Advertising, Southern Methodist 
University ’20
M.A. Advertising, Southern Methodist University ’21

A few weeks ago the Dallas advertising industry was shaken to its core. A renowned agency has lost multiple clients in the span of a few days due to a comment made by its founder and owner. If you live in the DFW area or are a part of the advertising industry at large, you will have heard about this controversial statement made by Stan Richards and the severe fallout for The Richards Group. For those who do not know the situation and its impact, here is a quick rundown of what occurred. According to AdWeek, the 88-year-old — during an internal creative review for a campaign for Motel 6 — stated that he felt the concept to promote Black artists’ work was “too Black” for “white supremacist constituents.” This comment somehow made it to the media and Motel 6 immediately dropped The Richards Group as one of their agencies. And within the span of three days, they had lost longtime clients Home Depot, Keurig Dr Pepper, and H.E.B., and new prospective business at Cracker Barrel. The chance of recovery for this agency is in question and Stan Richards has now stated he is stepping down from all operations at the company.

A few days later, Richards seemed to double down on his controversial comments in an interview with Texas Monthly where he stated that he was only “trying to protect the client’s business” and said that the campaign would “run off…their guests.” He declared that the idea that was posed “should have been more multicultural” and that instead “It was very Black.” Richards expressed surprise when he had heard his words had garnered so much backlash and stated that “…instead of using…those three words, I could have said something that was more clouded in its meaning. And it would have saved an awful lot of trouble.” In addition, when he was asked about his white supremacist comment, he further explained that the client didn’t need to lose any of its current business, “even if it was white supremacists who chose not to do business with them.”

Richards outlined the current objectives for The Richards Group and how they plan to generate more awareness around the “potential to create [such] a problem” and said he stands by the fact that his comment was not racist and that he has “never been a racist anytime in [his] life.” He then finishes the interview by stating he will focus on helping students at the Stan Richards School at UT. Richards has also issued a video apologizing to the faculty, alumni, and the students of the school, stating it was “the biggest mistake of [his] life,” and an accompanying note from the director and dean of the Stan Richards School stated that his “racially intolerant and bigoted remarks” were not consistent with the school’s core values and that they will remain committed to “sustaining a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Now let’s be honest. What Richards said was racist. Period. No matter his intentions, stating that he wanted to cater to white supremacist consumers and suppressing Black representation is uncalled for and quite frankly very disturbing. So the consequences that follow should be no different. During the peak of protests against police brutality and the demand for justice after the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, many companies called for the support and uplifting of Black voices and hired many artists to help create work. However, that “trend” didn’t last long, because soon after the initial news coverage of the protests started to die down, companies went back to the content they were creating before and the advocacy for Black people seemed to wane. This phenomenon was compounded by the insensitive email that was sent to a Black mural artist from Microsoft requesting that she create an art piece while the Black Lives Matter movement was still “relevant.”

Even though Stan Richards made these racist comments, which demonstrated how one remark can irrevocably ruin your reputation, the situation also demonstrates that the ramifications affect more than just him. Employees of TRG peopleThe Richards Group who didn’t express the same racist sentiments now are facing a future of uncertainty as well as unintended backlash for something they didn’t do. They have to scramble to figure out what the next best step is and balance the idea of jumping off a sinking ship or potentially going down with the captain. Now for some people, these developments may prove profitable since the newly available clients will be looking for another agency to work with and more jobs will be created in those businesses if they win. However, it still doesn’t negate the fact that livelihoods will be lost during a pandemic when the last thing anyone wants is an uptick in unemployment filings. Nevertheless, Stan Richards’ comment managed to severely damage a legacy he spent decades creating and possibly cost hundreds of people their jobs.

There is no shortage of examples for why diversity, equity and inclusion are vital to the growth and success of corporate America and society as a whole and this is just another one added to a never-ending list. Hopefully other companies who may have been remiss will realize that Black peoples’ lives aren’t a trend or something to commodify and do with as they please. This is real life and with our more socially conscious generations speaking out on the travesties and inhuman treatment that have been occurring for centuries, businesses that don’t get on board risk being decimated. So here’s a word of advice. Be a proponent of positive social change for the good of humanity and create work that pushes for a better world for everyone. And if that is too difficult, just not being a downright awful person could also help. And if that is still too much, at least realize that you will no longer make money if you alienate consumers and continue to uphold the discriminatory racist ideals that have plagued the minorities of America since its inception.

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: Professor Mark Allen’s Wildly Talented Students

Temerlin Advertising Institute’s Senior Lecturer Mark Allen shares his journey from high school art class to advertising professor on the We Are Next podcast. Allen found his love for advertising early on, established RedCape consultancy working with clients such as Martha Stewart, and currently feeds his passion for teaching wildly talented students at SMU.

In fact, one of Allen’s former wildly talented students, Elizabeth Entenman (B.A. Advertising 2010), introduced him to We Are Next founder Natalie Kim for the sit-down and sharing of advice learned over his varied career in the field of advertising. We Are Next is a resource for students and junior talent entering the advertising and marketing industry. This platform offers mentorships, a robust jobs board, and a variety of career advice-related content.

An interest in art, followed by a design course in high school, led Allen to major in drawing & painting and communication design and minor in advertising while in college. Post-graduation, Allen recounts leaving his creative work with recruiters at many notable agencies. He once found a note from an agency principal inside his book. Allen says, “I was so excited to see the note, but it read Nice book. Can’t tell if you’re an art director or copywriter.

He fondly retells this story to students as a critical moment in the progression of a career in advertising to help prepare them for the ups and downs that come along with building a reputation in the field. In the podcast, Allen recommends making creative portfolios stand out to potential employers by:

    1. Showing your best work.
    2. Making sure big ideas are supported by great craft.
    3. Showing a sense of restraint, whether it is in art direction, writing or the selection of products and clients. It shows a sense of maturity.
    4. Developing a good sense of taste over time by looking at lots of great work in Communication Arts annuals and The One Show, as well as Cannes and Clio award winners, to start. It is one of the most valuable things a student can do.
    5. Showcasing quality work over quantity. Recruiters usually skim portfolios, so make sure to highlight your strengths and capabilities. Also, include class or spec work that you are excited about, as it gives employers a sense for the types of clients that would be a good fit for your skills.
    6. Identifying and articulating problems, not only in a brief, but in brainstorming and day-to-day interactions. It helps to refine your craft and identifies you as somebody who can help other people, setting you up for director-level positions.

In advising students, Allen adds, “Look at ads and ask yourself questions such as, what is the problem? How did they solve it? When you see good work, identify what is compelling and deconstruct it a little bit. What makes it great? How and why did they make that?”

Listen to the full episode of the We Are Next Podcast.

See some of the creative awards won by SMU Advertising students at the 2020 National Student Show and the 2020 AAF Dallas awards show.

FACULTY RESEARCH: How Luxury Brands Can Curate Luxe Experiences for Digital Media

As of late, luxury brands have shifted their focus to engage consumers with more meaningful and compelling digital content. According to Dr. Quan Xie, Assistant Professor of Advertising in the Temerlin Advertising Institute, only a small percentage of consumers can afford high-end luxury products, but it is not surprising to see those who aspire to this lifestyle also engross themselves in luxury branded content.

In recent research published in the Journal of Interactive Advertising, Dr. Xie studies luxury fashion brands’ content marketing practices on YouTube, and demonstrates that consumers’ perceived experiential value, social value, and unique value of the luxury branded content are positively related to their perceived brand exclusivity and customer intimacy, which in turn, will boost consumers’ loyalty toward the brand. In addition, consumers’ perceived functional value of the luxury brand’s YouTube channel is positively related to their perceived brand prestige and exclusivity. However, viewers’ perceived informative value was found not relate to brand prestige, exclusivity, or customer intimacy, suggesting that the informative value of luxury content may not play a role in brand building of high-end luxury fashion brands.

While a luxury brand like Bentley boasts around 7.8 million Instagram followers, Hermès has more than 10 million followers, and Dior maintains a following of 32.7 million. Having a large group of followers may generally be seen positively, but for luxury brands seeking to build long-term loyalty, marketers must boost consumers’ perceived brand exclusivity and concentrate on building an intimate customer-brand relationship.

Dr. Xie points to Chanel as the cornerstone for luxury brand-consumer engagement through an ambitious and meticulously planned content strategy. At the beginning of this year, they had around 52 million followers on Twitter and Instagram, and 1.65 million fans on YouTube, which makes Chanel the leading luxury brand across all platforms. For example, they post regularly and consistently while adopting a video-first strategy. This well-crafted content has successfully transformed general viewers into faithful audiences. That said, any time the focus is on luxury brand interactions, the experience must leave consumers with the perception of brand scarcity.

Brand scarcity refers to the rareness of the product or service (e.g., scarce materials, limited accessibility, and distribution) that enhance consumers’ desire or preferences. Since luxury experiences provide more customized services and cost more than conventional experiential purchases, luxury experiences are entitled to greater exclusivity. Luxury brands also aim to evoke exclusivity at all customer contact points.

In the end, Dr. Xie’s research suggests luxury brands should aim to create content that offers experiential value, such as backstage stories, intriguing legacy narratives, and content that is unique to luxury branding – like aesthetic close-up of craftsmanship, as well as content that promises social value to followers. These content values will contribute to followers’ perceived scarcity and intimacy of luxury brands, which, in turn, can build up to greater brand loyalty. Additionally, reliable social media channels can also contribute to increased brand exclusivity. Luxury brands should strategically humanize their owned social media channels to transform them into credible information sources among followers.

Click to learn more about Dr. Quan Xie and her research.

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: Advertising Course Connects Students to Internships

Last week the Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted its annual communications career fair, organized by Temerlin’s Sandi Edgar and held in conjunction with her Business Communications class. The evening began with Ivonne Kinser from Avocados From Mexico and Francisco Cardenas from LERMA/ breaking down their Super Bowl strategy and the cross-collaboration needed to produce their award-winning work. Students then met with agencies hiring for both full-time and internship positions.

Have a position you’d like to share with our students? Learn more here.

Thank you to all who participated:

Agency Entourage

Avocados From Mexico

Inspire

Launch Agency

LERMA/

MarketScale

RocketBrand

Slant Partners

The Power Group

The Richards Group

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: Campaigns Class Lands Global Orthodontics Client

This fall, Professor Peter Noble’s undergraduate campaigns course partnered with the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies, Dentsply Sirona, for a unique B2B marketing challenge. In three teams, the students conducted three individual market analyses and audience surveys to conclude their capstone project with a fully developed marketing plan for how to increase visibility and drive attendance to the SureSmile multi-day education event. The winning team, Agency Incite, traveled to SureSmile 2020 in San Diego at the end of February to make their pitch live on stage.

“The submitted concepts provide valuable insights about our industry and user base. As creative strategies, they offer usable models, for example, to leverage user feedback or behavior or point out emerging trends and opportunities. For our company, this partnership returned significant assets in creative, research, and strategy,” said Dominique Mondou, Vice President Traditional and Digital Orthodontics.

Click here to learn more about campaign clients or contact Sandi Edgar for more information.

COURSE HIGHLIGHT: Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship

The Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship graduate course leads students to identify the agents of change in the industry, defines responsibility in the advertising field, and demonstrates how responsible advertising evolves into an agent of cultural change.

Dr. Sid teaches this course using the case-study method so that students learn the challenges and benefits of implementing a CSR strategy for a brand. More importantly, students apply studied concepts to a marketing problem faced by a real-world client. He explains: “personally, I enjoy teaching this class because social responsibility ties in with my research agenda (green advertising, domestic violence, etc.) as well as TAI’s mission of ‘Better Advertising, Better World.’ Furthermore, to teach students ‘strategic’ CSR and show how social responsibility can benefit the brand (not just financially), as well as its stakeholders, is truly satisfying. At one point CSR was a point-of-difference but now it has become the norm. However, the initiative’s success largely depends on how to integrate social responsibility objectives with that of the business. Trying to find that balance through unique ideas on a shoe-string budget is challenging but seeing the students’ creativity shine through the entire process is a great experience.”

Follow Dr. Sid on LinkedIn for his latest research in this field.

Click here to learn more about our graduate program.

INDUSTRY CONNECTIONS: What’s it Like to Serve on a Board of Directors?

Temerlin’s Sandi Edgar wanted to know more about the AAF so she started attending events, this quickly evolved into joining the AAF Dallas Board of Directors in 2018. There she met some pretty incredible advertisers and quickly found her way as the AAF Dallas Education Chair.

A board of directors is the governing body of a nonprofit which is responsible for overseeing an organization’s activities. In this case, AAF Dallas board members meet monthly to discuss and vote on the affairs of the chapter. In addition to attending these meetings and AAF events, Edgar creates programs to engage college students and works with other board members to include educational initiatives in their planning. In 2019, AAF Dallas won second place nationally for its 17 educational programs! “Serving on a board is a really fun and rewarding way to serve our industry and community, I strongly recommend everyone connect to a non-profit and give back” Edgar explains.

Edgar has a new AAF position and recently sat down with Ray Schilens, CEO and founder of Radio Lounge, to discuss her role as the first American Advertising Federation District Education chair. As District 10 education chair, Edgar serves as a liaison between AAF national and district educational programs and initiatives. Whether it’s working with local representatives to onboard new NSAC (National Student Advertising Competition) schools, relaying information to professors in the district, or working with clubs to involve students, this role is new for the AAF and continues to evolve. Listen here: https://share.transistor.fm/s/cfae3f24

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Dr. La Ferle Attends Global CMO Growth Council Meeting

Dr. Carrie La Ferle, Marriott Endowed Professor of Ethics & Culture, participated in the Global CMO Growth Council meeting last week in NYC examining Brand Experience, Creativity, & Media. The meeting focused on putting people first to drive growth through innovation, insights, creativity, experiential, and media.

Over the past two years, the ANA, Cannes Lions, and the Global CMO Growth Council have identified four priorities for driving industry growth: 1) Data, Technology, and Measurement; 2) Talent and Marketing Organization; 3) Brand Experience, Creativity, and Media; and 4) Society and Sustainability.

Anheuser-Busch graciously hosted the event last week and several CMOs cutting across multiple companies joined from Ernst & Young and Moet Hennessy to Subway, Stoli Group and Viacom as well as from Cannes Lions. Marcel Marcondes, U.S. CMO Anheuser-Busch provided a great overview of how Anheuser-Busch is working to drive growth by learning and listening more to consumers while also diversifying their offerings. Spencer Gordon, VP, Digital for Anheuser-Busch shared some of the recent wins that were driven by starting small and local to ensure relevance, using social media, then listening to reactions, and broadening the scope when reactions were good.

Future meetings are planned over the next few months across the four priorities leading up to Cannes Lions, where the Global CMO Growth Council originated in 2018.