FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Professor Nobles Advertising Industry in Dallas Course

The Dallas area is home to one of the top four media markets in the US. In Professor Nobles Advertising Industry in Dallas course, students explore and analyze current media issues within the context of this media center. This Jan Term, ten students visited a variety of Dallas ad agencies including TracyLocke and The Richards Group (pictured). In addition to getting a private backstage tour of several ad agencies, students learned about advertising agency structure, work culture, and specializations through individual presentations given by agency professionals.

FACULTY RESEARCH: Using Guilt and Shame Appeals from an Eastern Perspective to Promote Bystander Intervention: A Study of Mitigating Domestic Violence in India

There hasn’t been much research on comparing similarly perceived emotions like guilt and shame in domestic violence prevention messages, that too in an Eastern context (India). “The Journal of Advertising was coming out with a Special Issue focusing on Advertising in Asia and we thought this study would be a perfect fit” Dr. Sid explains.

The effectiveness of guilt and shame has been thoroughly researched in the West so this was a great opportunity to explore how guilt and shame would be perceived among individuals in India, especially, to motivate an important pro-social behavior like bystander intervention. With respect to the findings, it was interesting to note that shame was more effective than ads with guilt and the control. However, what was more intriguing was that ads with negative emotions (and lack of) were equally effective among those with an independent self-construal. Basically, such ad appeals were not as important as the duty to help a victim in need. A probable answer lies in research that touches on the characteristics of the independent self-construal (being assertive, autonomous, and possessing a stronger sense of equality), which could explain these gaps in future studies.

Self-construal refers to the grounds of self-definition, and the extent to which the self is defined independently of others or interdependently with others. Initially, the term derived from perceived cultural differences in the self. Westerners were thought to have an independent self-construal, which is characterized by separateness from others, by attention to one’s abilities, traits, preferences, and wishes, and by the primacy of one’s individual goals over those of in-groups. East Asians were thought to have an interdependent self-construal, which is characterized by a sense of fundamental connectedness with others, by attention to one’s role in in-groups, and by the primacy of group goals over one’s individual goals. Later, a third characterization, the relational self-construal, was proposed; it represents the ways that people may define themselves in terms of close, dyadic relationships. Social and cultural psychologists now view these as three dimensions of the self, which virtually all people construct to some degree. Cultural differences in self-definition arise through differences in the relative strength or elaboration of these self-construals. Consequently, the literature on self-construal can seem somewhat confusing: self-construal is described at times in terms of very different understandings of the self in different cultures, and at other times in terms of universal dimensions (independent, relational, or interdependent) that vary in strength in different cultures (source: Oxford Bibliographies).

Dr. Carrie La Ferle, Dr. Sid Muralidharan & Dr. Anna Kim “Using Guilt and Shame Appeals from an Eastern Perspective to Promote Bystander Intervention: A Study of Mitigating Domestic Violence in India” Journal of Advertising, 2019.

Abstract:

Domestic violence is an ongoing health issue affecting women around the world. Bystander intervention is one way to help minimize occurrences of domestic violence in the future. However, bystanders tend to be apathetic toward the victims they happen to encounter or observe. In the current study, we explored the effectiveness of negative emotions (i.e., guilt and shame) on attitude toward the ad and reporting intention of bystanders in India. Drawing from fluency in processing theory and conceptualizing guilt and shame from an Eastern perspective, we found that ads featuring emotional appeals strengthened reporting intention more than control ads did. We also found that self-construal affected the process. Multiple regressions revealed that shame was more effective for individuals with an interdependent self-view and that individuals with an independent self-view were indifferent to the presence or absence of negative emotions in ads. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

Click for the full publication: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00913367.2019.1668893

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Home is a Journey Recap

“I literally look homeless right now.”

Words overheard from a classmate in my 9:30 am Logo Design class.

Her outfit: a pair of sweatpants and a loose-fitting t-shirt.

The word “homeless” carries such a heavy stigma, and that weight falls on the shoulders of those who have been there.

Creative Advertising professor, Willie Baronet, has been buying and collecting homeless signs for a project titled WE ARE ALL HOMELESS which he created in 1993. To me, this project acts as a gesture to humanize the people who have unwillingly been made invisible. While interacting with a homeless person on a street corner, I’m certain I’m not the only one who fiddles with my A/C, pretends to see something important on my phone, or just looks the other way. The people who find themselves in such adverse circumstances are completely ignored. Reduced to nothing but sharpies on cardboard.

On a chilly November morning, Willie Baronet brought Home is a Journey to SMU. The first annual walk to raise awareness about homelessness, compassion, gratitude and privilege. Students and supporters marched from Doak Walker Plaza to Dallas Hall Lawn, carrying authentic homeless signs, created and held by someone experiencing homelessness. A lineup of compelling speakers shared their stories about experiencing homelessness, an eye-opening and humbling experience for everyone in attendance.

Baronet recounts the event, “The most poignant moment of the whole march was when we turned right on the boulevard. I looked back and saw a line of 120 people, nobody smiling, nobody talking, all carrying signs…the gravity of that image was so powerful.”

This week, the majority of SMU’s student body will go home for the holidays.

Which prompts the question: What is home?

Is it a group of people? A familiar location? A feeling?

Whatever home means to you, this project intends to shift your perspective, remove the stigma around homelessness and create a sense of gratitude for what you do have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.weareallhomeless.org/

 

Photos:

This past weekend was the Home is a Journey event which held the first annual SMU walk to raise awareness about…

Posted by SMU Meadows School of the Arts on Monday, November 4, 2019

Kaleb Mulugeta

FACULTY RESEARCH: Can Empathy Offset Low Bystander Efficacy? Effectiveness of Domestic Violence Prevention Narratives in India?

Dr. Sid Muralidharan co-authored “Can Empathy Offset LowBystander Efficacy? Effectiveness of Domestic Violence Prevention Narratives in India.” (Journal of Health Communication, 2019)

Abstract:

Domestic violence stems from deeply rooted patriarchal norms and directly conflicts with humanitarian standards. Given that this issue impacts women across the world, many countries have initiated campaigns to heighten awareness and fight this epidemic. Based on Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), we explored whether narrative health messages might prompt bystanders to intervene (e.g., calling a helpline number) when they encounter domestic violence. Using a sample of participants from India, we found that narratives had a stronger impact on attitude toward the ad and reporting intention than non-narratives and such effects were mediated by feelings of empathy. More importantly, the mediating effects of empathy were significantly greater when bystander efficacy was low rather than high.

Click for the full publication: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10410236.2019.1623645

FACULTY RESEARCH: Dr. Sid’s Latest Publication: What Triggers Young Millennials to Purchase Eco-Friendly Products?

Dr. Sid Muralidharan recently co-authored “What triggers young Millennials to purchase eco-friendly products?: the interrelationships among knowledge, perceived consumer effectiveness, and environmental concern.” (Journal of Marketing Communications, Volume 25, 2019, Issue 4)

Abstract:

As the attention to environmental sustainability heightens, marketers increasingly claim that their products help preserve the environment. Without proper understanding of how emerging target markets, such as young Millennials, are triggered to purchase green claims, their efforts may be futile. Accordingly, the current study examined the interrelationships among major environmental antecedents, such as environmental knowledge (EK), perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE), and environmental concern (EC) on environmentally conscious consumer behaviour (ECCB). The results of an online survey with younger Millennials revealed that EK and EC were significant predictors of ECCB, with EC being the stronger predictor. Unlike past literature, PCE was not directly related to ECCB. The study also found a strong mediating role of EC between EK and ECCB, as well as PCE and ECCB. Implications for green marketers are discussed, along with theoretical discussion.

Click for the full publication: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13527266.2017.1303623

FACULTY RESEARCH: Dr. Sidharth Muralidharan and Dr. Anna Kim Author Article on Narrative Advertising in India and the United States

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.

Click here to read the full article on LinkedIn.

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Dear Creative Santa

Temerlin faculty members were recently asked what they want from Creative Santa for the holidays. Their hilarious, distinctive, and thoughtful responses are below.

This year I would love a TAI faculty uniform so we all can present a united front to students and the community at large. Magnetic name tags aren’t getting it done! I was thinking about a nice SMU plaid with headgear in the form of a beanie. Please make mine with short sleeves so I can layer if necessary. Thank you!

Temerlin Love,
Dr. Alice Kendrick

 

 

Will you please get me this jacket to go with my cowboy shirts so Dr. Steve will quit telling me I’m not dressed up enough? Also, a pony.

Love,
Willie Baronet

 

 

 

On the high end I’d ask Creative Santa for an Apple iPad Pro – really no further explanation needed here. On the lower end, I’d love a copy of House Industries: The Process Is The Inspiration. I’m a big fan of House Industries, the creative process, and beautifully printed books so this is a perfect trifecta.

Sincerely,
Cheryl Mendenhall

 

 

I would like tickets to Cannes Lions WITH an invitation to the MediaLink party, CLX, AND a sit-down with Michael Kassan to discuss the future of the advertising industry.

Yours,
Dr. Steve Edwards

 

 

 

I would love to have a self-driving car. It frees my brain, eyes, and hands during my commute. It is also smart enough to be able to find its own parking spot on campus. I am happy just thinking about it. It is difficult to find the right Christmas stocking for it. But I am on it if you accept the challenge.

Best,
Dr. Yan Huang

 

 

As an eventful 2018 comes to an end and a new exciting year is about to begin, I would ask Santa to bring me a bottle of Simple Vodka. The adult beverage isn’t only for when I self-reflect as there is more to it than meets the eye. Why Simple Vodka? Well, there are two reasons. First, every bottle, Simple Vodka provides 20 meals to those in need in the US (e.g. 1 meal per drink). Since March 2017, the company has provided more than 400,000 meals through their local and national hunger relief beneficiaries and it hopes to eclipse 1 million meals by the end of 2018. Now, this is not an excuse to drink but to drink and usher in the new year responsibly. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love,
Dr. Sid Muralidharan

 

I would like to return to Kloster Wiblingen (1701) in Germany to conduct research on their collection of Renaissance Viennese pigments. This largely unknown collection of pigments, from the era of Michelangelo and da Vinci, would provide critical information to museum conservators when matching amalgamations to repair fine art and provide industry-based companies, like Pantone, with new formulations.

Sincerely,
Sandi Edgar

 

My mom doesn’t like buying me books for Christmas because she thinks it’s lame – but maybe Creative Santa feels differently? Regardless, I’m always on the lookout for new material for the graduate course I teach every Spring: Creativity, Art & Problem-Solving. For this reason, I would like Arthur C. Dante’s What Art IsThe cover of this title features the work of Andy Warhol who (in)famously blurred the lines between advertising and art.

Best,
Mark Allen

 

I would like a retreat to an island resort in Thailand with white sand, beaches, excellent service, activities, and food. At this location, I would focus my days on research and writing. Perhaps I would complete one of the many books I have wanted to write such as the impact of culture and how we see the world. I would also use the time and inspiring location to finish my online certificate related to ethics in advertising for industry professionals.

Sincerely,
Dr. Carrie La Ferle

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Ethical Dimensions of Art and Design

By: TAI Professor Mark Allen

As someone who has studied both art and philosophy, people regularly ask me what, if anything, they have in common. While I think that there are many fascinating ways in which these two domains overlap, one similarity that I find particularly interesting is the intersection of ethics and aesthetics.

One way that ethics and aesthetics are similar is that they both deal with value. When we say that a painting or a deed is “good,” at least one of the things we mean is that the thing or action in question has value. When we say that a painting or a deed is “bad,” at least one of the things we mean is that it has little value, or even negative value insomuch that it diminishes our experience of life or the world around us. It’s why we use words like “beautiful” and “ugly” interchangeably to describe both artistic works and moral acts.

– That was a beautiful song. 

– That was a beautiful thing you did. 

– That sculpture is ugly. 

– That was a really ugly thing to say. 

In other words, murder is not merely wrong, there is something truly ugly about it. And when a painter puts the final brushstroke on the canvas, there is something distinctly right about it. So, there seems to be an aesthetic dimension to the moral life and an ethical dimension to the aesthetic.

Whether it be moral or artistic, things of value improve our lives in some way. But it is important to point out that many of the things we value most (like good art and good deeds) are worth pursuing for their own sake, regardless of any utilitarian benefit we get out of them. Sure, listening to certain types of music can lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. Those who live a life of kindness and generosity often experience the rush of positive feelings and a general sense of well-being. Such benefits are real and welcome, but nonetheless secondary. Good music is valuable even if it doesn’t reduce our heart rate (sometimes it does just the opposite). Acts of kindness and generosity often go unnoticed and lead to self-sacrifice.

Another thing that the spheres of ethics and aesthetics share is the concept of wisdom. No one appreciates it when their difficult seasons or ethical dilemmas are met with oversimplified advice and platitudes from those who mean well, but lack the awareness and nuanced sensitivity that a situation calls for. so often life doesn’t seem to play by any rules, which is why—when things gets complicated—we seek out the counsel of the wise, not just the intelligent or talented. Nor those who have simply memorized a rigid code of conduct: Always do this. Never do that.

Of course, it’s important to start with the “unbreakable” rules that all people everywhere value: don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t lie. We instruct children to tell the truth, to be kind and to respect their elders. And yet, as they mature we explain that there may come a time when other rules come into play. When a stranger asks if a parent is home; when a bully is cruel to the weak or marginalized; when an adult behaves inappropriately toward a child. It such cases, it’s not time to be nice. But the proper responses in these situations are not somehow violations of the fundamental moral principles of truth, kindness and respect—quite the contrary, the fitting responses are based on and upheld by the most basic fundamentals.

Over the course of my career I’ve been able to witness these parallels play out in the classroom, particularly my design classes. [1] Pick up any good textbook on the topic and more than likely you’ll find a set of rules that, when followed, lead to good design. My go-to text for beginners is Timothy Samara’s Design Elements, which starts off with just such a section entitled, “Twenty Rules You Should Never Break.” Here Samara makes it clear that students of design should:

#4 Never use more than two typefaces. 

#8 Never fill up all the negative space in a layout. 

#18 Always make sure your composition is dynamic and full of motion.” [2]

I like Samara because he is great for beginners in that he gives clear-cut, easy-to-follow rules that help students avoid some of the most common pitfalls that the untrained or self-taught designer may struggle with. However, the complaint I frequently get after a few weeks is that Samara’s method is a very strict and narrow way to approach such an artful discipline. I mean, is the process of design really just a set of rules? A flowchart of do’s and don’ts?

In one sense, I think my students are right to complain—the book does start off in a rather rigid fashion. Always do this, never do that. But the other big reason I use this text is the way Samara ends the book with a chapter devoted to examples of how each and every one of his twenty rules can be broken. Of course, Samara saves this chapter for the end because he is a seasoned professional and an experienced educator. He knows that, until students master the fundamentals, they have not yet developed the aesthetic savvy needed to flex foundational principles like an experienced pro. The fact that Samara offers up twenty ways to break his twenty rules is not proof that aesthetic relativism is true; it only reveals that both skill and experience are needed in order to become a good designer.

When teaching through this text I always stress that Samara does not end his book by saying “Now, throw out all the rules I mentioned earlier and do whatever you want because, after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” If this were true we could choose type, color and style arbitrarily, despite the context or meaning of the work. By contrast, Samara provides detailed, illustrated examples of legitimate exceptions—not contradictions. It’s why the actual name of his final chapter is When and Why to Break Every Rule in this Book.”

Personally, I wish Samara had used a different word than “break” because it’s not as if he is teaching students to actually violate or contradict any fundamental rules of design here. He’s making an appeal to a higher (yet complementary) set of principles that can only be properly wielded with a great deal of knowledge and experience. The examples he gives are exceptions based on more advanced rules that don’t translate well into pithy lists, templates or 140 characters—methods that are the domain of master designers and artists. Perhaps there is a proper time and place for truisms and templates, but with complex themes and problems comes the need for artists who have more than just a set of skills, but in a very real sense demonstrate a certain kind of artistic wisdom.

Aristotle’s approach to ethics most closely embodies what I’m trying to demonstrate and is largely based on what is known as the Golden Mean—that is, finding a “middle” way between the extremes of deficiency and excess. For example, courage is a virtue with respect to how someone responds to danger—if taken to one extreme in excess, it becomes recklessness, while the deficient extreme manifests itself as cowardice. It is no accident that Aristotle uses art as a way to illustrate this concept in his Nicomachean Ethics:

“Hence people are accustomed to saying that there is nothing to take away from or add to works [of art] that are in a good state, on the grounds that the good state is destroyed by excess and deficiency but the mean preserves it; and the good craftsmen, as we say, perform their work by looking to this.” [3]

Aristotle says that we should always strive to be courageous (which might sound dogmatic). But he also says it’s important to take the particular person and situation into consideration (which might sound relativistic). But the beauty of his system is that the mean is not the exact middle, nor is it always found in the same place along the continuum between excess and deficiency. [4] Some situations call for the courageous person to act in a way that is closer to the reckless end of the spectrum, while in other situations what is courageous may seem like cowardice. For instance, a 6’4” military officer who wrestles an armed terrorist to the ground in order to save a train full of people vs. Rosa Parks who simply refused to give up her seat on a bus. Both people did the right thing—the equally courageous thing—but they did so in a way that was fitting for each context. [5]

In summary, when it comes to ethics, the well-lived life certainly comes with its fair share of rules—but it is the wise among us who are most skilled at navigating life’s complex seasons and dilemmas with earned experience and a familiarity with those moral principles of a higher but complementary order. Likewise, the fundamentals of art and design are inescapably important—in fact they form the only foundation from which more advanced skills and principles can be applied or even thought. The fact that such striking parallels show up across the seemingly unrelated disciplines of art and philosophy reveals something significant about the world and our shared experience of it—namely, that values like truth, goodness and beauty are perhaps aspects of reality itself and represent common goals toward which all humanity strives (whether we are conscious of it or not).

 

NOTES: 

[1] While I will focus here on parallels between philosophy and design, it should be noted that legendary advertising icon, Bill Bernbach, studied philosophy at NYU and remained an avid reader of philosophical works throughout his life. In fact, in a speech speech he gave to the 4A’s (the American Association of Advertising Agencies) in 1980, he specifically mentions Aristotle, St. Augustine and Bertrand Russell (among other thinkers) and relates their work to the task of advertising.

[2] Samara, Design Principles, pp. 10-23.

[3] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 1106b 10-14.

[4] It is important to note here that the “middle” state that Aristotle advocates is not the exact middle or “average” between extremes, but rather a mean relative to the situation. With this feature, Aristotle’s ethics avoid the moderation fallacy (Ex: Jim isn’t paying attention and backs into Pam’s car. Even though it’s Jim’s fault, he offers to do what’s “fair” by meeting her in the middle and paying for half of the damages).

[5] Aristotle also points out that certain vices that are not on a continuum between extremes, so there is no mean. Ex: there is no “just right” amount of racism, cruelty or adultery.

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: My First Year at Temerlin Advertising Institute

By: TAI Professor Dr. Yan Huang 

It is hard to believe that it has been one year since I joined Temerlin Advertising Institute (TAI). Looking back, this is an incredible year filled with exciting opportunities and experiences.

TAI stands at the intersection between the advertising industry and the research community. The unique combination provides a great source of inspiration. Through many TAI initiatives over the year, I have been engaged in conversations with both top advertising scholars and industry leaders. I am able to further develop my research program not only by asking questions that are important to theories but also with the industry trends and needs in mind. As the convergence of media and technology has disrupted the landscape of advertising practice, I extended my research on traditional persuasion theories to the digital domain. I initiated research projects that explore how novel digital advertising practices such as native ads and advergames can be used to promote public health and social good. These projects received funding support from the Meadows School, the University Research Council, and the Sam Taylor Fellowship. With the support of TAI, I was able to present four research papers at the annual conferences of the American Academy of Advertising, National Communication Association, and International Communication Association.

As a professor, I always hope to help my students understand the real-world meanings of theories, and motivate them to transplant the knowledge acquired in the classroom to the world at large. Located in a vibrant city and connected to the industry community, TAI is a great place to implement this teaching philosophy. I am also impressed by TAI students’ motivation and their aptitude for making connections between the somewhat abstract academic process and their life. I have had student groups investigating consumers’ perceptions of Whole Foods after Amazon’s acquisition, exploring the use of experiential marketing strategies in military recruitment, and examining how car commercials affect gender stereotyping, just to name a few.

My collaboration with the 9-1-1 program in the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) in the classroom of Strategic Brand Management 2 is a highlight of this approach. Students formed four teams to perform a brand audit for the 9-1-1 program from different angles and provided executable plans for promoting its branding among the public, college students, elected officials, and telecommunication professionals. This task required the abilities to flexibly apply marketing principles in the textbook to the nonprofit context and to critically analyze real-world problems. My students excelled with their creativity, curiosity, and diligence.

Christy Williams, director of the 9-1-1 program, said, “Working with Yan and her students in the Strategic Brand Management class was a great benefit to the 9-1-1 program in the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG).  Collaboration with academia is important to our program, as we understand that times are changing and there is value in students’ perspectives.  NCTCOG is very progressive with our technology and we want to keep up with our education and branding as well.  The students at SMU provided new insights and ideas through their class projects.  They served as a ‘fresh eye’ into our program and delivered professional constructive criticism along with proposals for improvement in their presentations. We expected advice on improving our website and social media, but were surprised with the insightful suggestions for presentations and field awareness.  The suggestion to ‘focus on inspiration more than education’ could change the future direction of our awareness strategy.  All in all, we found great value in the partnership.  In fact, we believe that the value will continue with a group of students who took a project to heart and made a difference.  Each one of them demonstrated that they are 9-1-1 champions!” It is certainly one of the most rewarding moments when I saw what students learned and accomplished in the classroom could make a difference in the real world.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a group of talented colleagues and to instill the passion for and knowledge of advertising into many gifted students. I look forward to another fruitful and joyful year.