Abstract: The persuasiveness and popularity of narratives in commercial advertising has gained much attention but its application in inculcating responsible behaviour is severely limited. Domestic violence against women is a global issue and there is a dire need for effective bystander intervention campaigns. This two-part study delves into how narratives could be employed to elicit favourable ad attitudes and encourage bystanders to report instances of domestic abuse in their neighbourhood. Study 1 focused on testing the effectiveness of narratives in two culturally diverse countries – India and the United States. In general, findings showed that narratives (vs. non-narratives) were more persuasive in both countries. As the next step, using culture (interdependence vs. independence) and social distance (parents vs. neighbours), Study 2 found narratives with a socially proximal entity (parents) to be more persuasive in India while no differences between countries were observed for the socially distant entity (neighbours). Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.
For those of you who have not met me before, I am the librarian for Temerlin. I always enjoy working with the advertising students on the kinds of critical thinking needed for secondary research. The students at Temerlin never cease to impress me with the creativity and enthusiasm they bring to the work! We have so many great services at the SMU Libraries, so here’s a rundown of things you should take advantage of.
Advertising Research Guides – Find these attached to advertising courses in Canvas by clicking “Library Help.” I create these online guides to make advertising research easier for you.
One-on-One Research Help – Sometimes you just need to talk through your project with a person. I meet with individuals and small groups, either in person or online. I can’t tell you how many times I have had students say that they don’t know why they ever waited so long to take advantage of this service!
Chat Help – If you need help immediately, you can chat with one of the library’s research assistants. You can find this anywhere on the library website by clicking the red “Ask Us” flag on the upper right side.
Workshops – Adulting 101, Finding Balanced News, Advanced Internet Research, Making Citation Easier, How to Read Scholarly Article – these are some of the topics that are offered through our workshop program. Is there a topic you would like to suggest? Would you like to schedule a custom session for a group of students? Let me know!
On Friday, April 13, Yan Huang, Assistant Professor of Advertising in TAI at SMU, shared her research titled “Persuasion and Counter Persuasion: The Impact of Narratives in Health Promotion,” at the TAI Research Brown Bag.
Professor Huang’s research examines the effects and mechanisms of strategic media messages and technologies in shaping consumer psychology, especially as they relate to health and socially responsible advertising. Through her studies, she addresses a series of questions including,
Is attitude induced by narratives able to resist the influence of competing messages?
What are the psychological mechanisms underlying narratives’ influence on resistance?
Can narratives effectively persuade individuals when used for counter persuasion?
How do we use storytelling to help the public make better decisions?
Health public service advertising (PSA) is not processed in a vacuum. An effective health PSA must not only produce an immediate persuasive impact but also compete with counter messages from different interest groups. Prior literature supports narrative benefits in eliciting immediate health attitude change. However, its influence in a competitive scenario has yet to be tested.
When individuals are exposed to a campaign message, they think about it, but they don’t typically engage in actions immediately. There is a time lag, in which individuals can encounter other information, which may contradict with what they were previously exposed to – these are competing messages. Professor Yan Huang performed a series of studies in which attitudes were assessed after exposure to pro- and anti-radiotherapy messages, in both the conventional rhetoric and storytelling formats. Immediate reactions and the responses after counter persuasion were assessed and analyzed.
Major findings of Professor Huang’s studies include,
Campaign messages in story formats can lead to better retention of information, which could enhance audience resistance to counter persuasion.
The experiential processes associated with narrative exposure, such as identification with story characters and the feeling of “being transported” into the story world, can increase counter-arguing with competing messages.
Narrative messages are much more effective than rhetorical messages in communicating counter-attitudinal information.
After sharing her research Professor Huang discussed various theoretical and practical implications including,
Narrative persuasion research may benefit from focusing attention beyond the change in attitude intensity to other properties of attitude strength.
The mechanisms underlying the carryover effect of narratives in the face of a competing message are both cognitive and experiential.
The applicability of narrative persuasion theories in a competitive situation.
The strong potential of narrative campaign messages in altering attitude.
Temerlin Advertising Institute was honored to have Yan Huang for a lecture on her research. TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting speakers periodically throughout the year.
Wpromote is a digital marketing agency headquartered in California has regional offices in Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, etc. It is also known as the challenger agency and focuses on search marketing, paid & earned social media, and marketing intelligence. This April, Wpromote partnered with Facebook and held its first profit-driven marketing summit. It was an invitation based exclusive event, and two of our TAI faculty, Anna Kim and Hye Jin Yoon were invited. Last year, the agency had a similar event with Google.
It was an all-day event and well-attended by industry professionals. It is interesting to note that Dr. Yoon and Dr. Kim were the only academic professionals. They said, they really enjoyed the program. “The summit not only offered us an excellent opportunity to meet industry professionals but also informed us many interesting new trends as well as challenges that today’s media industry is facing. Keynote speeches and sessions were organized around the following three themes: leveraging profit-driven marketing & customer lifetime value (LTV), new customers acquisition, and visual storytelling through video.”
Here are some notes from Dr. Yoon and there’s a link in the bottom where you can download some of the presentations from Wpromote. Unfortunately, presentations from Facebook are not provided due to the sensitive nature of some of the content, it is Facebook’s policy not to distribute their presentations.
Businesses need to adopt mobile first strategies: consumers are increasingly discovering products through mobile, there is 41% faster content consumption on mobile than desktop, and on average, consumers search fewer products on smartphones than desktops before making a purchase.
eCommerce goes global: cross-border e-commerce with emerging economies have taken off; businesses need to be there effortlessly across the globe; these countries never had strong desktop culture and have leaped on to mobile, which creates a different set of opportunities.
Mobile video content is exploding: video is a primary way to discover and buy products and leverage video as merchandising tool affords highly dynamic immersive experiences.
Visual storytelling through video creative that converts: customers want to see themselves in your product; visuals are processed 60K times faster than text by the human brain; visual storytelling can help every stage of the consumer’s journey; great video isn’t about things, it’s about action (verbs before nouns); focus on people, their goals, and how the brand can help accomplish them.
Mentoring (and Caring) for Ad Students by Dr. Alice Kendrick, Marriott Professor of Advertising
Do you have a mentor? Who is that person? A professor? Professional? This is a question worth asking and a goal worth pursuing.
Research indicates that having a mentor can contribute to not only career success but also to psychological and physical well-being. Yet only about one in five college graduates claim to have had a mentor while in school, according to a 2014 Gallup-Purdue survey. Having someone “who encouraged me to pursue goals and dreams” makes a student twice as likely to enjoy an engaging career, according to that study. There isn’t a lot of research about advertising mentors specifically, though a survey of business students at a northeastern university and alumni 3-5 years out (D’Abate 2010) found that mentoring provided short-term psychosocial support and also advanced mentees’ career development and business knowledge in the first five years on the job.
A study in the late 1990s found that minority advertising students reported they wished they had mentors while in college as well as later in the workplace. About half of the students in a 2008 study of university ad club chapter members said they had mentors, and in many cases those mentors were college professors. In a related finding, the Gallup-Purdue study reported graduates were almost twice as likely to achieve an engaging work life if “My professors at [College] cared about me as a person.” (p. 10)
The advertising employment landscape can be complicated, and unlike some areas of study and work like engineering and investment banking, hiring opportunities don’t follow a specified pattern. That means that ad students looking to enter the ad industry could benefit from guidance and support of a mentor or mentors along the way. And while professors often serve as defacto mentors for students, there are many other sources of mentors such as members of local professional advertising clubs, speakers who visit campus, internship supervisors, university alumni and family friends and acquaintances. Students and faculty should seek as many opportunities as possible to enjoin professionals beyond the university to augment student learning, networking and pre-employment socialization. Professional role models and professional relationships are a key ingredient to a successful career.
Kendrick, Alice, Jami Fullerton and Mallorie Rodak (2010), “Advertising student interns: Career preferences and ethical issues,” Journal of Advertising Education, 14(2), 42-51.
The 2014 Gallup-Purdue Index Report (2014). Great Jobs. Great Lives. Gallup, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q2/gallup-purdue-index-releases-inaugural-findings-of-national-landmark-study.html
Fullerton, Jami, Alice Kendrick and Connie Frazier (2007), “Job Satisfaction Among Minority Advertising Professionals.” Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication national conference, August, Washington DC.
D’Abate, C. (2010), “Developmental Interactions for Business Students: Do They Make a Difference?” Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies May, 17(2), 143-155.
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.
TAI’s Associate Professor Dr. Hye Jin Yoon has a paper forthcoming in the Journal of Business Research, which has an impact factor of 3.354. With Dr. Yoon-Joo Lee and Nicole H. O’Donnel of Washington State University, she explored how number of followers and valence of comments could affect the perceived legitimacy of corporate social responsibility campaigns on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Title: The effects of information cues on perceived legitimacy of companies that promote corporate social responsibility initiatives on social networking sites
Abstract: Social networking sites (SNSs) are increasingly used to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Consumers can like, retweet, or comment on CSR messages on SNS pages, signaling public approval or disapproval and affecting perceived legitimacy of the organization. Especially for controversial companies, such as alcohol brands, both perceived legitimacy of a cause and consumer purchase intention (PI) might be enhanced by expressions of public support on SNS pages. However, few studies have explored this relationship. The findings from Experiment 1 suggest that the number of followers (low vs. high) affected perceived legitimacy and PI. Experiment 2 revealed that the effects of comment valence on attitudinal and behavioral intention interacted with the number of followers. These findings advance our current knowledge of factors associated with perceived legitimacy of companies that promote CSR campaigns on SNS pages. Implications for advertising research and practice are discussed.
This October, TAI Assistant Professor Dr. Eunjin (Anna) Kim traveled to San Diego to attend the 2017 Association for Consumer Research (ACR) Conference, a premier marketing conference. She presented a paper titled, “Narrative Advertising Effectiveness: The Role of Ad Relevance, Ad Vividness, and Ad Message Explicitness.”
“This project departed from a basic premise, such that it is highly unlikely that all narrative ads produce equal amount of effectiveness (e.g., positive affective responses and positive cognitive responses),” Dr. Kim said. “Nowadays, advertising plays in a very competitive attention economy where consumers’ attention span is very short like that of gold fish. Storytelling has emerged as a new currency for capturing customer hearts. Marketers and researchers have been trying to understand the power of the storytelling in order to move their customers through their branding/sales objectives. I believe my research makes a significant contribution to the topic of narrative advertising effectiveness.”
Dr. Kim has two co-authors on this project, Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan, TAI Assistant Professor, and Dr. Eunseon Kwon, Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication at Texas Christian University. A paper based on this project is currently under review at Journal of Business Research, a premier academic journal.
“I really liked this conference because it offered me an excellent opportunity to showcase my research and to meet other seasoned scholars in my research area,” Dr. Kim said. “This conference has recently started to publish the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research (JACR) exploring consumer behavior topics with a thematic approach. I got some cute gifts from the journal at the conference. At the end of the conference, we visited San Diego Air & Space Museum.”
Dr. Kim has published her research in the Journal of Advertising, Marketing Letters, Psychology and Marketing, International Journal of Advertising, Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Mobile Media & Communication and others. She teaches Digital Media Strategy 1, Consumer Insight and Persuasion, Strategic Brand Management 2, and Media Measurements and Metrics.
TAI Faculty are among the most productive advertising scholars worldwide. Their research interests span current industry topics of interest, including narrative advertising effectiveness, humor advertising, socially responsible advertising, and virtual product experiences, to name a few.
Below are pictures from Dr. Kim’s time in San Diego.
This July, TAI Professor Dr. Hye Jin Yoon travelled to Tokyo, Japan for the 2017 American Academy of Advertising Global Conference. With her co-author Dr. Hongmin Ahn, she presented a paper titled, “When Two Worlds Collide – The Dark Triad Personality and the Humor in Comedic Violence Ads.”
“AAA partnered with Waseda University and held sessions on its vibrant campus,” Yoon said. “The conference started with a keynote speech from Yoshito Maruoka, President and COO of Dentsu Digital Inc. and ended with a tour of Tokyo with a visit to Mt. Fuji. Many advertising and marketing scholars from the United States, Europe, and other Asian countries attended the conference.”
Dr. Yoon has been published in the Journal of Advertising, Journal of Business Research, International Journal of Advertising, Journal of Health Communication, Health Communication, Journal of Advertising Research, and Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, among others. She teaches Advertising Media, International Advertising, and Quantitative and Qualitative Research at SMU.
Since graduate school, TAI Professor Suzanne Larkin has had a relationship with Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and prototyped a program to aid learning for children with dyslexia. Professor Larkin got her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communication from Texas A&M Commerce (downtown Dallas), a program that combines Curriculum Development, Design Research, and Business.
“My inspiration came from a challenge as I was acquiring an MFA,” Professor Larkin said. “The challenge was to connect with a ‘giant’ and create something that could benefit them, and do what we call ‘move the needle,’ which means collect data that shows efficacy of what we do as visual communicators. In that challenge I kind of conducted a search, like what people do for thesis topic development. And that started with talking to others to find problems in major organizations where visual narratives or visual solutions could be beneficial. So part of my talking to people came out of tools that we use in the creative industry, like mind maps. I created maps to focus on who to talk to, and in which organizations. I kept running into the same response, and that was that children with dyslexia don’t have enough of the proper resources to help them grow at early diagnosis point, like 2nd and 3rd grade. I was inspired because I love to have fun in my work, and I like to do whimsical concepts. I used to design greeting cards. I’ve done radio, broadcast, outdoor, print. I’ve done it all in my career. So I thought this was a great opportunity to touch a target audience and provide something that hopefully benefits them.”
“I met with Karen Avrit, who is the Education Director,” Professor Larkin said. “We got together during therapy time and talked about what the patients were doing. I asked ‘Why are the children trying to read stories from text when they have reading challenges? Have they ever seen these stories?’ Of course, I’m thinking about this as a visual communicator because pictures say a lot. Karen thought that was a valid question since they didn’t have a visual representation of the fluency stories.”
At that point Ms. Avrit and Professor Larkin realized that there could be a way of using visual narrative to help in teaching punctuation.
“Their fluency program already has a brand called ‘Take Flight,’” Professor Larkin said. “So I thought, if I’m going to create intellectual property for the punctuation, I’ll need to give it a brand too. And of course I got really excited, because I love to create brands. Then I started thinking about color, typography, style of graphics, and on and on.”
From there Professor Larkin developed Ellah’s Tools. Ellah, standing for Experiential Language Learning At Home, could act as an at-home supplement to “Take Flight,” a fluency program developed by the Center for Dyslexia.
“Karen asked me if there was a way to allow parents access to the tools so they could use them at home for supplementing what was being done during therapy time at school,” Professor Larkin said.
Professor Larkin did extensive research and concepting in the process of creating Ellah’s Tools. She had to find a way to animate and teach six basic punctuation marks to children with learning differences, in a way that would keep them engaged.
“Just like with branding, when things are always the same sometimes consumers get tired of it,” Professor Larkin said. “So of course these consumers would be second and third grade children so I want to make it exciting. Every week I gave them a different genre. The comma is based on blues. And I thought, okay, who is someone that inspires me when it comes to blues; well that was BB King. So the song was the style of BB King’s music.”
Throughout the creation process, Professor Larkin never had any sort of budget. She used a combination of her own talents, friends’ talents, and purchasing inexpensive stock music to create prototypes. She used Garage Band to create and edit the music, and Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Flash to create the final product.
“One of my Professors at Texas A&M actually has a blues band,” Professor Larkin said. “They’ve been around for years, and so Bill Ford was gracious to sing the lyrics for the comma. And sang it in his style to music that sounded like typical BB King blues. Because I don’t have a budget, I used a high definition recorder that I purchased. And we recorded in closets and small office spaces, so that there was limited echo. All of that came together in Flash and what we decided to do was instead of flushing out everything at the beginning, because it’s research…and things change, we thought…let’s do it in segments.”
Ellah’s Tools is designed to be a visual curriculum that reinforces what students learn in therapy. In creating the first prototype, Professor Larkin got parents involved through solicitation with therapists at schools in Wiley, Texas. Each week, she gave the therapists a package that include a DVD for parents to use at home and games to go along with the fluency stories.
“Parents were excited to participate. One parent told me that her daughter kept reminding her not to miss the meeting! I met with them for coaching on how to use the prototypes that we were putting together,” Professor Larkin said. “One of the stories was about different types of animals on a farm, so I [created] a scavenger hunt [game]. Another story was about some kids at the beach, so I created a word and image match game. The parents had that to play with alongside a list of prompts that they could use to excite their kids, what kind of conditions that the environment should be in when the kids are interacting with the tools for best case scenario.”
Professor Larkin was able to get feedback from the parents as well as the therapists collecting data. She created a pre- and a post-test for the therapists to evaluate the students. Both tested students not only on their fluency, but on prosody, and their comprehension of punctuation.
“The post-test revealed encouraging data,” Professor Larkin said. “All of the students showed improvement in their reading abilities and comprehension in at least one area. That was really exciting for what it meant to have children experience learning in a different way. It was multi-sensory and reinforced their therapy at home but in a fun way. When the study was done the parents participated in a survey on Survey Monkey. The feedback was great.”
Professor Larkin is hopeful for the future of design research. Last semester she met with the Budd Center at SMU, looking for the potential of sharing the punctuation prototypes with public schools in Dallas. She is also waiting to hear back from a unique school in Dallas that was created specifically for children with learning differences.
“My hope is that there is a way to be able to share these tools, and create more,” Professor Larkin said. “Right now there still isn’t a budget, so that means grant writing, begging, and convincing. I think visual narratives can assist all learning styles.”