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.

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.

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Praise From a Class Client

Class Clients

In the program capstone course, Advertising Campaigns, our senior students showcase their accumulated knowledge through an intensive practical exercise. Working in small agency groups, they vie for the new business of a client. The client is real, in the room and judging their performance. The problems and the budgets are real. Students investigate, plan, develop strategies, create integrated marketing campaigns and solve clients’ advertising problems. We’ve worked with brands such as American Airlines, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Glidden, Nokia, Rockfish, Kinko’s, Hyundai, Postal Vault, Toyota Matrix, Bank of America, Waste Management, Wingstop and FLA USA.

Click to learn more or apply to be a Temerlin Class Client

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Praise from one of last semester’s class clients below…

May 16, 2018

Peter,

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for the marvelous work you and your students did on the marketing campaign for Cox Insurance.  I am thrilled with the results.  All of the campaigns went beyond my expectations and “hit it out of the ballpark.”  At the beginning of the project, you said that no client had ever been disappointed with the results and I am certainly no exception.  Indeed, it is hard to imagine a client being more happy than I am with the results.

All of the campaigns had useful information—some more than others—but the beauty of your method for teaching the students is that the competition generates an overall product which surely goes far beyond what would be possible otherwise.  In other words, the whole project is a brilliant conception, and that redounds to you.

It was very hard to pick a winner since all of the campaigns were extremely well conceived and dug deep into the market.  Red Chair’s winning campaign centered squarely on the reason why I started Cox Insurance in the first place, which is to save people time and give them the respect in the marketplace that such hard-working people deserve but have never had.

Again, thank you so much for helping me find the “nuggets” among Cox’s demographics.  I know that we have to pick a project winner and that’s why I’m writing, but let’s be clear—I’m the real winner here—and I know it.

 

Maria Coello

Cox Insurance Group, LLC

 

SMU-TAI’s Ad Team: Expectations for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC)

Now that the campaign for Ocean Spray has been created, SMU-TAI’s Ad Team has begun to get their final presentation ready for the AAF District 10 competition in Corpus Christi, TX. The members that were selected to present the team’s work to a panel of judges shared their expectations for the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC).

Amy Cooley– Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management and Spanish major. 

“This is my second year on Ad Team, so it feels good to know what to expect going into the competition. I think that our campaign strategy is really strong, and we have an incredible team of presenters (if I do say so myself) so I’m excited to see how all of our hard work is going to pay off!”

Alex MacKillop – Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with minors in Business and International Studies.

“We have all worked extremely hard for this moment, so I think it will be very satisfying to see all our work come together in the final presentation. Everyone on the team contributed so much to this campaign and we are all very excited to see it through. “ 

Harrison Fiveash – Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with minors in Communications and Arts Entrepreneurship.

“I cannot wait for all of our hard work to come to fruition. Amy and SJ have been great leaders throughout this process, leading the charge in both coordination and execution. Professor Benson has also been extremely helpful in balancing a hands-off approach with corrective guiding. While there may just be four of us presenting, it took a small army for everything to come together. I hope to win and eventually move on to Chicago, but if not at least we gained a lot of experience and felt the real pressures of a hypothetical campaign.”

Sara Jane Stephens – Advertising major on the Strategic Brand Management track with a minor in Spanish.

“I’m extremely excited for the upcoming NSAC competition in Corpus Christi. Amy, Harrison, Alex and I have a lot of energy, charisma, and chemistry on stage, which makes our presentation memorable. Not to mention, our campaign strategy is really thorough and definitely makes us a strong contender in the competition. We’ve put in a lot of long nights and hard work into this, and I know that will be clear during the presentation!”

SMU-TAI’s Presenting Team: Harrison, Sara Jane, Amy and Alex.

The team will present their integrated campaign at the AAF District 10 Convention, ADVENTION, on April 15, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The winning team(s) from each district will advance to the 2018 semi-finals, which will take place over two days, on May 2–3, 2018. Between 16 and 20 teams will compete for one of eight spots in the finals. Eight finalists will then compete for the national title at the annual ADMERICA conference, which will take place in Chicago, Illinois in early June.

TAI is confident in Ad Team’s effort, abilities and talent. We wish them the best of luck at the NSAC district competition this weekend!

For more information about NSAC please visit the competition website.

 

Can Agency Culture Foster an Ethical Mindset?

Can Agency Culture Foster an Ethical Mindset?
by TAI Professor Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan

Business ethics can be broadly defined as a brand’s moral obligations to their stakeholders, employees, consumers, competition, and society at large. Ethics operates at a higher plane than law and motivates brands to think beyond just meeting the minimal legal requirements. In advertisements, ethical considerations can manifest by providing honest and truthful information about products and services, by not being offensive, or culturally distasteful. Being in a position of influence, the expectation for a brand to abide by a moral code can never be perceived as a choice but a duty. This moral duty rests not only in the hands of the advertiser but also the hired advertising agency.

The ad agency is an organization where the blending of business and creativity occurs seamlessly. In such a competitive environment where both advertisers and agencies are driven by the motive of earning more profits, the emphasis placed on ethics, unfortunately, diminishes. Lapses in ethical judgment can negatively impact the brand in terms of lower sales, negative brand image, and can end the relationship between the agency and the client. For example, in 1991 Volvo and its agency Scali, McCabe, Sloves Inc. of New York was each fined $150,000 for their deceptive ad. The commercial depicted a monster truck that ran over a line of cars, and the only car to survive was a Volvo station wagon. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found the ad to be deceptive because the body of the Volvo was specially strengthened to withstand the impact and a regular Volvo was not equipped with a similar shell. Knowing that the demonstration did not truly represent the product, the agency still decided to move forward with the campaign, posing an ethical lapse. Granted, agencies are under the influence of their clients but the question remains, can an agency still come out with a creative ad that is both effective and morally sound?

The answer is yes. To overcome such setbacks, agencies need to foster a culture of ethics and responsibility. This should be initiated from the very top, where, leaders are setting an example and having employees not only be a part but also take ownership of the culture. A good example could be the agency ‘Enviromedia’ based in Austin, TX. The main mission of the agency is to make the world a better place to live in and help brands make profits. Championing this vision is the CEO and Founder – Valerie Salinas-Davis, who has created strategies for campaigns such as “Don’t Mess with Texas” and the eco-friendly Nissan Leaf, to name a few. Being a B-Corporation, the agency has set high standards to achieve both social and environmental goals. As per their website, the agency has contributed $1 million in pro-bono work and volunteer time to different charities. The agency headquarters has sustainable features like solar panels and water saving functionalities, while employees recycle and use recycled materials. Enviromedia is selective of who they work with, making sure their culture and values align with their clients and is propagated through the campaigns they create. From the causes they support to providing employees with paid time off, Enviromedia has shown that their belief system can foster an ethical mindset. If the industry is filled with more agencies that have a strong moral compass then it helps put pressure back onto brands to achieve their bottom line through ethical channels.

Dr. Sid Muralidharan is assistant professor at the Temerlin Advertising Institute. His primary research interests are on cross-cultural studies and advertising’s impact on mitigating social and environmental issues in India and abroad, while secondary research interests include social media and online advertising.

 

TAI Hosts Visiting Scholar Dr. Sukki Yoon for Lecture on Speed-Induced Construal and Perceptions of Advertising Messages

Friday February 23, Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a lecture by Visiting Scholar Dr. Sukki Yoon, associate marketing professor at Bryant University. Dr. Yoon discussed his research, “Slow Versus Fast: How Speed-Induced Construal Affects Perceptions of Advertising Messages,” with many SMU students, faculty and staff attending the lecture.

Through his research studies, Dr. Yoon addresses fundamental questions of consumer behavior: why and how people react to marketing communications. His research centers on Consumer Behavior but he is also interested in Branding, Integrated Marketing Communication, Consumer Psychology, International Advertising, Digital Marketing and Social Marketing.

Dr. Yoon provided a report of results of five studies investigating construals arising from the pace of commercials, which then affects consumers’ perceptions and responses.

“Dr. Sukki Yoon’s research provides important theoretical extensions to the construal level theory. It demonstrates that the speed of media stimulus can influence consumers’ cognitive processing. The findings offer useful information for the design and placement of advertising messages,” TAI Professor Dr. Yan Huang said.

Dr. Sukki Yoon lecturing to audience of SMU students, faculty and staff

Studies 1, 2, and 3 provide empirical evidence showing that slow-moving objects generate high-level construals and fast-moving objects generate low-level construals.

Studies 2 and 3 demonstrate that TV commercials featuring slow-moving objects will prompt high-level construals, which induces consumer preferences for desirability advertising appeals that emphasize product benefits and quality. Whereas TV commercials featuring fast-moving objects will prompt low-level construals and cause consumer preferences for feasibility advertising appeals that emphasize product benefits attributes and price.

Studies 4 and 5 demonstrate the same results when the same commercial is run slowly and rapidly.

SMU faculty and staff attending Dr. Yoon’s presentation

“Dr. Sukki Yoon’s lecture was very interesting in terms of how he connected a science theory with advertising. How fast pace music could speed up the path to purchase to process in stores, and how slow pace music can make people think more of their purchase before buying. His lecture was very well-spoken and simplified,” SMU student Chase Drexler said.

Dr. Yoon studies advertising and consumer behavior and has published articles in many international journals, served on editorial boards, and written columns for newspapers and magazines. He has previously taught advertising at Cleveland State University and has lectured as a visiting scholar at Grey Worldwide, Harvard, Sookmyung, Dongguk, and UNIST.

Temerlin Advertising Institute was honored to host Dr. Yoon for a lecture on his research. TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting guest speakers periodically throughout the year.