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.

Meet TAI Adjunct Professor Tom Edwards

Professor Tom Edwards is teaching capstone course ADV 4399 Advertising Campaigns for the Temerlin Advertising Institute this semester. Professor Edwards is the chief digital officer at Agency, Epsilon, where he oversees brand planning, research, data design, digital strategy, digital experience, social/CRM/email, innovation and media. He regularly publishes content and speaks on the future of marketing.

Professor Edwards was an adjunct faculty member of the virtual campus for Wayland Baptist University from 2003-2015. He also instructed Principles of Marketing, Advertising & Promotion, Global Marketing and Consumer Behavior. He has also guest lectured at University of Texas at Arlington, and prior to joining the TAI team he was a member of the SMU Digital Accelerator certification program faculty.

What made you want to become a professor?

I have spent the past 17 years in the marketing technology space. The rate of change associated with technology, its impact on consumer behavior and ultimately how we connect with consumers continues to outpace traditional academia’s ability to keep pace. I wanted to contribute and give back to the next generation of advertising professionals by bridging the gap theory and the practical application.

What is your background in the subject you teach?

I currently instruct the Advertising Campaigns course. Over my professional career I have worked on campaigns for hundreds of fortune 1000 brands (Citi, Starbucks, AT&T, GameStop, Activision, Hasbro, Frito-Lay to name a few) both domestic and international. My expertise is rooted in a deep understanding of technology, consumer behavior, data and intelligent systems such as artificial intelligence and the application of machine learning.

What has been your favorite memory from teaching for TAI so far?

The passion and creativity exhibited by the students and the staff and their willingness to roll up their sleeves and get to work, even when it’s in areas they may not be in their core area of focus.

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

I have instructed thousands of students over the past 15 years across a few universities and my favorite part is the open dialogue with the students. Getting to hear their perspectives and thoughts and to see their work evolve over the course of the semester are incredibly gratifying.

What made you want to go into advertising? How did you get where you are in your career?

I started my advertising career during the dot com days of the late 90’s. I had a passion for technology and all things digital. As graphical user interfaces and connectivity began to spread, so did the need to create engaging digital experiences.

The alignment of marketing and technology have been a key foundation for the advancement of my career. I have worked in interactive agencies, start-ups, enterprise software companies and large agency holding companies. Having the ability to decipher complex problems into simple solutions has been a key to career advancement. The other critical component to career growth has been my blog. 10 years and over 400 posts later, having a visible point of view and a repository for thought, industry commentary and speaking has been a valuable asset in my career development.

How have you seen the advertising industry change since you started?

 The biggest change over my career is the shift towards the empowered consumer. Prior to 2007 advertising had remained somewhat stable with broadcast at the center of the experience. In 2007 we saw that begin to shift with the introduction of the first iPhone. This sparked the shift towards mobility in advertising that is still prevalent.

Then we saw how technology enhances consumer empowerment through the creation of user created content, accessibility and amplification via social channels, the personification of brands and celebrity being redefined from Hollywood to influencers.

Moving forward we are now seeing the shift from content marketing to contextual and the rise of multimodal interfaces with the focus shifting from mobile and desktop to voice, vision and touch.

Moving forward, we will see the shift from consumer centric advertising to system based marketing as algorithms and virtual assistants will take on more responsibility for consumers and ultimately our definition of reality will evolve when we see the convergence of location data, computer vision, augmented reality and artificial intelligence where any space, physical or digital becomes a new canvas to connect with consumers.

What advice do you have for students who want to have a career in advertising?

I have 3 tips for students just starting their career:

1) Network – Begin building a professional network before you start your professional career. Attend industry events and network in-person, focus on your LinkedIn profile and engaging with content. Your professional network is one of your most valuable resources. It should require more nurturing and attention than personal social channels.

2) Sponsor & Mentor – It is key to seek a mentor, someone who works in the industry you are about to enter to help navigate key pitfalls and to “learn the ropes” from a seasoned individual. It is incredibly important to be open to feedback. It is also important to identify a sponsor within your organization. Someone who is either directly or indirectly in your chain of command. Someone who can provide positive internal earned media and groom you for advancement. You cannot always depend on an immediate supervisor to serve this role. Seek out highly respected and influential individuals within the organization, you will know who they are.

3) Original Thought – I cannot reiterate how important publishing content can be for a new grad. Having thoughts on industry commentary or showcasing your ability to connect trends that may not seem to link on the surface is an art that can lead to you being selected over someone else.

How do you incorporate aspects from your work into your teaching?

 I look to bring best in class examples and techniques, be it research, the latest on aligning psychographics and affinity to personas or the role of conversational experiences into digital strategies. The key is aligning experience and tools with the core areas of focus of the lesson or assignment.

What is one interesting fact about you?

 I was named by Ad Age as a 2017 Marketing Technology Trailblazer.

Follow Professor Edwards on Twitter @BlackFin360 to stay up to date on the latest areas of study.

Meet TAI Adjunct Professor Allison Dupuis

Professor Allison Dupuis is teaching ADV 4333 Topics in Digital Media Marketing for the Temerlin Advertising Institute. Professor Dupuis spent several years as a Career Counselor in the Hegi Career Center at SMU. She then transitioned to digital marketing and has built a successful career as a digital content manager at BuzzShift.

What made you want to become a professor?

I actually never thought I would be a professor. My dad has been a professor of Pharmacy at UNC-Chapel Hill for the past 30+ years, so I’ve been exposed to college life and higher education since birth. I love learning, working my interns at work, discussing new avenues of digital advertising, and exploring new sides of digital media, psychology, and technology. Considering the majority of expertise in my field is so new, I didn’t think that my career would take a traditional path towards teaching.

When the opportunity arose to teach digital content marketing at TAI last year, I jumped on it immediately. My sister is also a college professor, so it was nice to have two family members that could advise me on planning a curriculum, creating a grading system, and staying energized all semester long while balancing a full-time job, teaching, and life outside of work. Being a professor was never my plan, but I guess I may just be genetically predisposed to becoming “Professor Dupuis”.

What is your background in the subject you teach?

My background is a combination of traditional studies in sociology, psychology, strategic research and planning, and education plus self-taught experience in social media, graphic design, drawing, and photography.

My current work is all of those fields wrapped into one job as the Director of Content & Creative at BuzzShift. I focus in digital content strategy and help our clients at BuzzShift grow their businesses through online tactics and campaigns. My work analyzes target audience needs and wants to position a product or service as the optimal solution. I work with an amazing team to distribute creative and engaging content through social media channels, websites, emails, and other digital platforms.

A simple example of this work would be helping a company launch a workout app and running Facebook and Instagram ads to increase downloads to tech savvy individuals with a propensity for working out and brand affinities and online behavior connected to brands like LuLuLemon, SoulCycle, Nike, etc.

What has been your favorite memory from teaching for TAI so far?

There was one class where the room temperature was so uncomfortably hot. That day we were focusing on creative brainstorming and leveraging channels features to inspire great content. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to go outside and have a brainstorm in the fresh air. We had a lot of fun that day, explored various prompts and tactics, and my class came up with some amazing ideas on (1) how to celebrate Avocados on Instagram to increase awareness and then (2) creating a campaign that infuses the Starbucks into the wedding planning process to drive email acquisition.

What is your favorite part about being a professor, and what do you hope to get out of being a professor?

I just love learning about my students, getting them out of their comfort zone, and offering them help in whatever they need. We always start class with a fun personal question, have breakout projects, and I make sure we are actively reflecting and questioning everything. I want them to be honest with themselves, each other, and with me, so I do everything I can to get them comfortable with expressing their opinions every time we meet. We learned about new digital channels, brands, methods, and explored the best and worst of advertising together. I hope to always learn from others and have a great time discovering new ideas; and that was definitely the case with my class this fall.

What made you want to go into advertising? How did you get where you are in your career?

I always enjoyed learning about people and art & design. Honestly, I never planned to go into advertising. But looking back, I’ve realized that if you don’t understand human behavior and the art of persuasion, you’re going to have a really difficult time succeeding in business or relationships. And then in advertising and digital marketing, this is when you get to put a twist on that knowledge with art and design.

I was drawn to social media and technology because of the empowering and interesting effects it had on people. Before switching to an agency, I learned everything I know about design and technology from experts and explorers on the internet. Now I learn from my coworkers, industry, and the internet. I believe the most successful people in digital advertising and the people who push boundaries, hack the system, and always fight to individualize their brand messages for niche populations. After they figure out the right messages, they fight to ensure their ads include stand-out motion graphics and design. Why? Because we need them to stop scrolling and swiping and pay attention and fall in love with your brand.

I got where I am today because I said yes to learning, yes to new relationships and projects, yes to failing, and saying no to toxic environments and people.

How did you originally get to working at SMU? Why did you make the switch from working in the Career Center to becoming a professor?

I graduated with a masters degree in strategic planning & higher education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. I wanted to help students find great jobs, and leave college understanding who they are and who they want to be. Prior to my graduate program, I didn’t have a great job. It was 2008, and the economy wasn’t in great shape. I literally couldn’t even get a job at Forever 21. But luckily I was able to become a temp at Carnegie Mellon University and met so many awesome educators and administrators. Because my job would switch every few months, I was able to learn and develop my strengths and avoid roles that exacerbated my weaknesses. I knew if I could do this for myself, I could help other college students do the same before they graduated.

After a few years in higher education, counseling students and leading personal branding workshops on interviewing and LinkedIn, I made the jump to social media marketing for brands and businesses.

Last fall, more than 3 years after leaving SMU, I sat on a nonprofit social media panel for Social Media Dallas. Peter Noble from TAI just happened to be in the audience. I’m candid, a little fiery, and always trying to make a joke and I guess that stood out during the session. Peter approached me and recommended that I send him my resume for a potential teaching opportunity at SMU. I said yes, followed up (just like a typical career counselor would recommend you to do), and then said yes again to the job.

A lot of people might see the career jump as weird or unconventional (and it might be), but it always seemed like the planned happenstance theory in action. Build your skills and strengths and then just say yes.

How have you seen the advertising industry change since you started?

I’ve seen Amazon start to takeover the world and turn into an advertising platform following Facebook. Companies who still spend millions on TV commercials and billboards that have minimal tracking capabilities, yet distrust and fear digital ads (even though it has the proper targeting features, saving them money, and the human connection to our fans that we’ve wanted forever). I’ve witnessed 3rd party delivery systems turn the QSR industry on its head, and the life and death of Vine. It’s been an interesting road, and I can’t wait to see what I get to experiment with at work next.

How do you incorporate aspects from your work into your teaching?

Every class is a different perspective on traditional content marketing and advertising that I deal with at work. I break some classes down by topic (social media, influencers, email drip campaigns, paid media, etc.) or modern day advertising challenges and trends (6 sec ads that still need storytelling, brands & their trolls, or what we can learn about branding from online dating apps and transfer that to advertising).

At my job, we work hard, but we also get to know each other well and are very collaborative. I infuse those values into my class with breakout assignments and projects. Decks and presentations are also crucial to synthesizing complex digital methods and persuading those who control the purse string, so we actively discuss different philosophies on persuasion and positioning in business.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I’ll give you two. (1) I can jumprope on my butt and (2) I’m a quarter Korean with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Meet TAI Adjunct Professor & SMU Alumna Elena Andro

Professor Elena Andro is an SMU alumna who is now teaching ADV 2342 Strategic Brand Management 1 for the Temerlin Advertising Institue. Professor Andro has been Manager of Communications for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for nine years and has experience on both the agency and client side.

What made you want to become a professor?

First, I love SMU and my craft. Being able to return to campus was amazing and to impact tomorrow’s advertising professionals was a perfect way to give back to the university that gave me my start in advertising and marketing. Second, my mother was a university professor in Mexico so I was familiar with what it took to teach from watching her prepare and run her courses. Third, I’d guest lectured for SMU’s MBA program about the importance of public relations in marketing campaigns. This allowed me to “test the water” and I found that I really enjoyed teaching. Lastly, I’ve been a mentor many times at various organizations, and was often involved in the Dallas Advertising League’s Student Tour program. Also, advising people on their career path is something that comes naturally to me. My view is you spend so much time at work, you should really enjoy what you do.

What is your background in the subject you teach?

My career has always had branding as its cornerstone. I began my career in an ad agency my senior year. Professor Chip Besio brought me into his agency to assist with some clients and I loved being in the middle of exciting projects. I then interned at the McKone & Company agency three days a week my last semester, and then went to work for them my first three years out of college. I then worked client side for many years. Then I had my own agency for six years where I had the pleasure of working with Quaker State, Nissan, Sprint and Capital One. For five years I was a bank marketing executive for both Capital One and Wachovia. Then I joined Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

What has been your favorite memory teaching for TAI so far?

Since most students take notes on their laptops, it is easy to wonder if they are engaged in the lecture. My favorite memories are when students would raise their hand to add something that they’d spontaneously researched on their laptop about the topic being discussed. Now that is engagement! It’s very exciting to see that happening.

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

I love the creative brainstorming and ideation that happens organically in class when you are talking about real, to-the-moment branding situations – such as all the brands impacted by the shooting in Vegas. It is also very valuable for me to have the time with the students that represent a very attractive customer segment for the brands I work with.

What made you want to go into advertising? How did you get where you are in your career?

Advertising seems to have been in my blood. My siblings and I started businesses when we were in elementary school and developing the “pitch” and “product” were fun for me. What really helped my career was interning at agencies my junior and senior year. I cannot stress how important it is for students to get real, hands-on experience as it makes your school work better and you stand out from other graduates once you have your diploma.

My career also benefitted from the fact that I was game to do advertising for product categories that other students did not find interesting. For example, my first ad agency specialized in building products – paint, faucets, laminates, etc. It may sound a bit drab, but we were working with magazines such as Interiors, Architectural Record and Remodeling. It was a lot like fashion, with awesome photo shoots, rock star architects, trips to New York and such.

Another strong recommendation I have for TAI students is to get involved in the American Advertising Federation’s Ad2 club. To this day I still treasure and benefit from the connections I made when I was a student and on the Board of this organization. I later became the president of the Dallas Ad League (now AAF Dallas) which again proved invaluable in my career.

How have you seen the advertising industry change since you started?

Media is so hyper fragmented now! You used to be able to do great campaigns that targeted large segments with a relatively small number of creative executions. Now you cannot. And budgets have not kept up with the exponential number of executions needed to reach similarly-sized audience groups.

How do you incorporate aspects from your work into your teaching?

Students don’t often think about government agencies doing branding. So, it is eye opening for them to consider how DART must compete with the private vehicle and now Uber/Lyft for their share of “transportation occasions.” And because I’ve worked in a variety of industries (at ad agencies) and corporations (as a marketing executive), I’ve got many case studies from my own experience from which to draw from. It is also helpful that my career has been almost solely in Dallas as I’ve got contacts to draw from to bring in guest lecturers who can provide another “voice” from our advertising industry.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I have a Bearded Dragon lizard that likes to ride around in an RC truck, insists on organic grape tomatoes, loves to swim and sleep on top of my cats. I also married my SMU beau five year ago after reconnecting via social media.

TAI’s Dr. Anna Kim Visits San Diego for Association for Consumer Research (ACR) Conference

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.

TAI Hosts Dr. Gi Woong Yun for Lecture on Virtual Reality Use and Effects

TAI faculty attending Dr. Yun’s presentation.

Friday, October 27, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada Reno, Dr. Gi Woong Yun, made a visit to SMU campus and presented his research as part of TAI’s Visiting Scholar Lecture Series. The main title of his presentation was “Measurement Development of Virtual Reality Use and Its Effects.”

First, Dr. Yun provided his current research on the levels of student stress and psychopathology. Preemptive interventions that proactively address personal well-being using new technology were tested in his VR mediation study. The rationale for this study is that the VR tools may be able to provide a unique opportunity to promote student health through an affordable and immersive meditative platform. This project examines the effectiveness of VR immersive mindfulness meditation through a longitudinal, quasi-experimental research design. Biometric feedback (e.g., heart rate), combined with Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale and participant self-reports, informed the potential for VR interventions on college campuses. Results indicated that VR could be an effective intervention method. But, the quantitative measurements could be improved to detect long-term effects of the meditation sessions.

TAI faculty trying out the VR equipment after the presentation.

The second study was VR and mobile EEG measurement. Dr. Yun presented research methods in implementing a two-by-two experimental design using both repeated measures (exciting VR content vs. experiential VR content) and between subject stimulus (social vs. no social). The effects were measured with a mobile EEG tool, Emotiv EPOC, and post-test surveys. The mobile EEG tool was able to detect stimulus content showing increased brain activities in some areas of the brain. However, social interaction stimulus did not make a difference in EEG measurements and showed no interaction effect. The framework developed can be adopted in areas of research on contemporary VR production, audience research, content regulation, and game development, to name a few.

Dr. Yun’s presentation was attended by many TAI faculty members, all of whom enjoyed his lecture and the opportunity to use the VR equipment following the lecture.

Meet New TAI Professor Dr. Yan Huang

Dr. Yan Huang

What made you want to become a professor?

I am curious. I always want to figure out a few things. I collect information to feed my curiosity. When I meet people with the same questions, I feel excited to share what I have learned with them. The whole process makes me happy. Luckily, these are exactly what professors do.

What class are you teaching this semester?

I am teaching ADV2301 Consumer Behavior this semester. In this class, we discuss theories and concepts of psychology and persuasion as they relate to how and why consumers make certain judgments and decisions. To me, the purpose of the class is two-fold. First, I hope to motivate students to think about the applications of these theories and concepts in advertising/marketing communications. Second, I hope students themselves can become better consumers and make informed decisions with knowledge gained from this class.

What is your area of expertise?

Broadly speaking, my background and expertise are in the area of strategic communication. My research gives special attention to the effects and mechanisms of strategic media messages and technologies in shaping consumer psychology, especially as they relate to health and socially responsible advertising. I am a quantitative researcher. I explore my research questions mostly by doing experiments, surveys, and meta-analyses.

What has been your favorite memory from teaching for TAI so far?

I’ve already had many good experiences with SMU students. Every week I gain something new. It is hard to choose…but if I have to…the favorite memory is when a group of five students came to my office on a Friday afternoon to talk about the different ways to approach their group project. I remember seeing the spark of curiosity and enthusiasm in their eyes.

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

My favorite part is that I get to meet different students every semester, know their stories, share what I’ve learned with them, and help them when they are in need. I hope I can make a valuable contribution to knowledge with my research and use the knowledge to cultivate young minds.

Have you taught before? 

I had taught at Penn State for two years before I came to SMU. I taught a research method class for advertising/public relations majors and also an online course on research analytics in strategic communication.

Are you currently doing any research? 

Yes, I have a few ongoing projects. One important theme is about the effectiveness of narrative advertising. While past research focuses on the immediate impact of stories, my research has revealed that messages telling stories are also more persuasive than argument-based messages in the long term. This is because narrative exposure can trigger more self-related thoughts on the advocated issue by engaging individuals experientially. Moreover, individuals who have read narrative messages will show greater resistance to counterarguments they encounter at a later time.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I used to play a video game named BombSquad with my husband. We had kept the doubles world record for quite a while.

To find out more about Dr. Huang, check out her page on the TAI website.

TAI Hosts Annual Graduate Student Cookout for Graduate Program Members

Saturday August 27, TAI hosted a barbeque welcoming new students to the graduate program. Graduate Program Coordinator and Professor Peter Noble opened up his home to host invited faculty, staff, and students.

TAI graduate students and professors sharing a meal.

“TAI’s Annual Graduate Student Cookout was an opportunity to get our grad students and faculty/staff together for social, non-academic purposes,” Professor Noble said. “Getting to know more about each other outside of the classroom was an important goal. Great food, bright conversations, and shared discoveries of interests allowed everyone to feel a part of the TAI family.”

The event provided students with a wonderful chance to meet and bond with each other, as well as their professors and the head of their program. Graduate student Coral Pisek really valued the opportunity to get better acquainted with the program and its members.

“My experience at this year’s TAI Grad Student BBQ was very enjoyable and informative,” Pisek said. “Everywhere I go, I try to gain and learn as much as I can. Once I spotted the familiar faces from the first week of classes, I immediately began talking with them about how the past week went, how I thought I’d be the youngest one, and how the classes so far sounded interesting. I got to meet and discuss the future of advertising with Professor Edwards and meet Dalya, a really cool undergraduate student that’s combining her BA and MA in advertising. I had the opportunity to sit down and eat my juicy hamburger with Professors Kim and Edwards [and discuss] what got them interested in advertising in the first place. We also debated the ways advertising is not dead. I later discussed my future advertising aspirations with Professors La Ferle and Noble. It was very important to me to see how they can guide me to work on my passion in the future. The BBQ was an interesting opportunity to talk personally with many intellectuals in one house. I am very glad I went. I left the BBQ full, eager and hopeful for the future.”

Graduate students, faculty, and staff enjoying the Cookout.

TAI is always looking for opportunities to enhance our students’ experiences, and we can’t wait to host more events like this!

TAI Professor Sidharth Muralidharan’s Research Accepted to “Journal of Advertising Research”

TAI Assistant Professor Sidharth Muralidharan has been published in various academic journals, with five more publications forthcoming. His main research focuses are cross-cultural studies and advertising’s impact on mitigating social and environmental issues.

His most recent accepted publication is titled “‘Green’ with guilt: Assessing gender differences in ownership messaging efforts in support of England’s plastic bag charge.” The paper will be published in the Journal of Advertising Research, one of the major academic journals in the advertising field.

“There have been plastic bag ordinances where shoppers have the option of either buying plastic bags or avoiding the charge by bringing reusable bags,” Professor Muralidharan said. “One such law came into effect in England, UK. My co-author and I were interested to test the effectiveness of the law by exploring the interplay of guilt appeals in ads and gender on shoppers’ green attitudes and behavior.”

Professor Muralidharan and his co-author did a two-part study exploring gender differences in consumers’ feelings of guilt relating to reusable grocery bags in Study-1 and how each gender responded to guilt appeals in Study-2.

“Survey findings from Study-1 showed that guilt was more impactful on women and helped generate favorable green attitudes and behavior,” Professor Muralidharan said. “Based on these findings, Study-2 was designed to examine how men and women would respond to guilt appeals for green messages framed by egoistic (focus is on the self) and biospheric (focus is on the environment) concerns. Two ads were designed that elicited a moderate level of guilt related to egoistic (personal savings from bringing reusable bags) and biospheric (saving the environment by bringing reusable bags) concerns. Findings showed that egoistic concerns were more effective and that this effect was stronger for women than men.”

Professor Muralidharan believes that this research has managerial implications, saying that the UK government and green advertisers could change their messaging to appeal to egoistic values instead of emphasizing on the more typical environmental benefits.

“Guilt elicited by ads seems to motivate shoppers, especially women, to engage in pro-environmental behavior,” Professor Muralidharan said. “Using gender as a segmentation strategy, advertisers could elicit guilt by incorporating ownership messages in egoistic ads that credit shoppers for behaviors they have yet to begin (e.g., contributing to their personal savings by carrying reusable bags). For pro-environment attitudes and behavior to follow, advertisers should highlight egoistic solutions to the problem: benefits such as personal savings and positive emotions such as happiness. By doing so, advertisers will initiate coping mechanisms that allow consumers to mitigate emotional dissonance and encourage them to pursue pro-environment choices.”

Along with his research, Professor Muralidharan teaches four courses at SMU, including undergraduate (Survey of Advertising and Advertising, Society & Ethics), and graduate (Advertising as a Cultural Force and Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship) courses.

“Ethics lacks importance in both college curriculum and the advertising industry,” Professor Muralidharan said. “On reading past student evaluations, I can say that my greatest accomplishment is when our students at the end of the semester realize the value of ethics and social responsibility in advertising.”

Research is a passion of Professor Muralidharan’s. Although it can be very time consuming to be both a professor and a researcher, he uses his love for research as motivation to balance the two.

“I’ve been teaching at SMU since 2012 and will complete five years by end of this semester,” Professor Muralidharan said. “I try to give equal importance to both teaching and research and being organized and strategic can help maintain a healthy balance. For my balancing act, I begin with teaching first since it is more structured and has a schedule in place, while trying to weave in my research endeavors whenever there are no teaching periods in between. Though research is more malleable, I still organize my research projects for the year, including deadlines and target journals. This is imperative in order to achieve my annual research goals.”

Professor Muralidharan has three other publications forthcoming in both the Asian Journal of Communication and the Journal of Promotion Management. Working on so many research projects has taught him the proper equation for doing research as well as improving his patience.

“I always try to work on research projects that explore advertising’s ability to help mitigate social and environmental issues,” Professor Muralidharan said. “During my tenure as a researcher, I have been fortunate enough to work with accomplished researchers and through collaborations I was able to learn new research methods and statistical analyses while at the same time improved my skills as a storyteller. A strong narrative and appropriate method/analysis go hand-in-hand and both are equally important to a study’s publication success. The multiple research projects I have worked on over the years have taught me a major lesson, which is patience. It can take months for a study to transform from an idea to having it published in a journal but the key is to view the journey as a marathon and not a 100-meter dash.”

ExxonMobil Lecture Series: “Signs of Humanity” Screening

Tuesday, February 28, the Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a public screening and Q&A of documentary “Signs of Humanity” at the Angelika Film Center as part of its 2017 ExxonMobil Lecture Series.

Professor Baronet talking to Jennifer and Jesse, a homeless couple in Seattle.

“Signs of Humanity” is a documentary film created by TAI Professor Willie Baronet. The film explores themes of home, homelessness, compassion and humanity as Professor Baronet and his team travel the country collecting over 200 homeless signs and interviewing over 100 people on the streets.

“The event on Tuesday evening really opened my eyes to the important work that Willie is doing, and how many people are willing to help him,” SMU student Dalya Romaner said. “The documentary was beautiful, and I feel that everyone watching it could connect to some aspect of it, whether it was one person he interviewed, or a reason for his project, or even a city he visited. Let’s just say, I now look up to Willie not only as a professor, but as a human being, and a change maker in a world desperately needing change.”

Each year TAI hosts lectures and events as part of the ExxonMobil Lecture Series. The series is one of many ways that TAI advocates its motto “Better Advertising. Better World.” This lectures series helps to promote advertising, media and corporate ethics by hosting events to discuss varying ethical topics that can be related to advertising.

Crowd at the screening event.

“We are so pleased to recognize the creative work of Professor Baronet,” Steven Edwards, Director of the Temerlin Advertising Institute, said. “Offering the public an opportunity to view ‘Signs of Humanity,’ recognize important supporters of the project, and create a space to spur on the conversation about homelessness is part of our larger mission to positively impact our community.”

Many TAI students, as well as faculty and local industry professionals, attended the event. The night started off with a reception and networking, followed by a brief recognition of documentary creator and producers, the screening of the film, and finally a Q&A with Professor Baronet and other producers of the documentary.

“Willie and his filmmakers did a great job of providing an open-minded glimpse into the world of homelessness nationwide,” Romaner said. “They didn’t come in with preconceived notions, they treated everyone as humans, not as homeless people, and it was beautiful to watch. I really feel that it gave everyone an idea of something small we can all do to help the homeless community around us, even as small as acknowledging that they are humans too. I think the most important takeaway from the film, the event, and Willie himself, is that we need to see everyone as people going through their own struggles, and it’s that commonality that gives us the chance to connect so the world is not made up of ‘us vs. them.’”

From left to right: Professor Baronet, Director Tim Chumley, Producer Judy Burch Gass, Producer Eamon Downey

Professor Baronet is doing important work to shine a light on homelessness. The event was an opportunity for the entire faculty and Professor Baronet’s students to celebrate what has been his two-year journey to film, edit, and showcase his project. This work has provided learning opportunities for students to reflect on the intersection of art, advertising, film-making, and creative expression in a persuasive context.

“I loved when Willie said in the film that the sign exhibit isn’t about him, it’s about the people he’s doing this for,” TAI alum Mallory Ashcraft said. “As a writer and former advertising student of Willie’s, I related to that inner dialogue, and I was so inspired by the fact that he tells the story of the homeless very honestly. I think everyone needs to see this film, because it showed me that we can all do more to emotionally support the homeless individuals in our communities and cities.”

“Signs of Humanity” is the product of a larger, ongoing art project, WE ARE ALL HOMELESS, which began when Willie purchased his first homeless sign in 1993. The project’s mission is to create a more compassionate world by creating awareness and provoking conversations about people on the streets, and inspiring others to find and implement solutions to the many causes of homelessness.

Learn more about WE ARE ALL HOMELESS and their Impact Campaign here.