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.

TAI Professor Anna Kim’s Research on Narrative Advertising Accepted to “Journal of Advertising”

TAI Professor Eunjin (Anna) Kim recently had a research paper accepted in another academic journal for her research titled “Why Narrative Ads Work: An Integrated Process Explanation.” To date, Professor Kim has been published in eight academic journals, with another publication forthcoming. She has always been interested in narrative persuasion and persuasion knowledge.

Her most recent accepted publication about narrative advertising will be in the Journal of Advertising. She was motivated to start this research to create a more integrated framework to decipher what makes storytelling and narrative more effective.

“In previous studies, experiments used fake advertisements where consumers would watch and then judge [them],” Professor Kim said. “Most of storytelling advertising is in a video format. If you have to create the stimuli [ad] then it will be artificial. I tested with real TV commercials that aired on CBS over a two-week period from 5:30pm-11:30pm (2/20/2015-3/6/2015). Out of the 312 unique commercials aired, those ads were drawn into a random sample of 25 narrative and 25 non-narrative commercials. Four hundred and eighty-four participants were recruited from an online panel system; each participant was randomly assigned into either a narrative condition or non-narrative condition, watched a single commercial, and then answered a set of questions. I evaluated the responses for each category, comparing the two groups to see how storytelling [commercials] performed compared to non-storytelling commercials among criteria I created.”

This research means a lot to Professor Kim, as it started as her doctoral dissertation. She considers publication in the Journal of Advertising as one of her greatest career accomplishments to this point.

“It is a big accomplishment since Journal of Advertising is the top advertising journal, with an 8-9% acceptance rate,” Professor Kim said. “This paper is one of my dissertation studies that I won a doctoral dissertation proposal award from American Academy of Advertising in 2014. Narrative persuasion is one of the major research areas that I am focusing on. I want to build my reputation on the topic of narrative advertising. So, I say it was a very good start. My first narrative advertising study in the top advertising journal.”

Professor Kim teaches four courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level throughout the year, including Digital Media Strategy 1, Strategic Brand Management, Media Measurement and Metrics, and Theories of Persuasion. Since she started teaching at SMU last fall, Professor Kim has had to learn how to balance both her teaching and research responsibilities effectively.

“Balancing the two is not easy as a junior faculty [member],” Professor Kim said. “I try to set [aside] a time for research only. For example, I focus on teaching from Monday to Thursday and then try to work on research from Friday to Sunday. I teach four different classes per year, two per semester. Since three of them are newly created courses, it takes more time for me to prepare them. The other one is a graduate class. This was not a new course, but it was new to me since I started to teach the course last fall for the first time. Hopefully, next semester I can spend more time on research.”

Through her many years of research, Professor Kim has learned and gained a lot from her various research endeavors. Aside from theoretical and statistical methods and trainings, she considers patience and endless curiosity to be her biggest gains.

“Research is not a simple process,” Professor Kim said. “It takes long time to publish one paper. Conducting a research, including ideation, takes at least a year. Often times it takes more than a year if your data don’t cooperate. Once you conduct research, writing a research paper takes about six months depending on your time availability. Then you submit a paper. The review process takes about a year [sometimes longer]. After you submit a paper, authors usually go through 2-3 revisions until they publish. Now you can see why I have to be patient. [And] one research is not the end of the research on a specific topic. Usually, research at my hands inspires me a lot and makes me curious about why people behave in a certain way and why and how they arrive a certain choice. So over the years of research experience, I’ve got lots of research questions that I want to pursue. I create research idea documents and saved [them] in a folder labeled ‘Research ADD’ on my computer. There are so many interesting phenomena and research questions that I want to explore/solve. Believe or not, sometimes I can’t sleep because I can’t stop thinking about them.”

Because of this endless curiosity, Professor Kim will have many future research projects ahead of her. Her next project is a subsequent study about why some narrative ads are more effective than others. She is hopeful that the next paper will also be accepted by the Journal of Advertising.

“As we know, not all stories are equally interesting and fun,” Professor Kim said. “Likewise, not all storytelling ads are equally effective. For example, a story in an ad itself might not be interesting and attention capturing. Even if a story is very good (e.g., fun, interesting, moving, etc.), if the ad contains no brand information, the ad is not effective in terms of branding. If an ad contains too much brand information and the information is not well integrated into a story, this will interfere with the story flow and viewers would get easily get annoyed, thereby developing negative responses to the ad and the brand. Another case could be a situation where consumers cannot relate the ad or brand with themselves. Let’s say an ad story is very interesting/entertaining and brand information is well integrated in the ad. As an advertiser, you feel like you couldn’t do any better than this. You would expect very positive responses from target consumers; however, things could turn out badly if consumers cannot relate themselves with ad characters, situations, and/or advertised product or brand. Ad relevance is another big factor contributing to the effectiveness of narrative advertising.”

TAI & AAF Dallas Co-Host Breakfast Event with Government Affairs Speaker Clark Rector

Wednesday, September 21, Temerlin Advertising Institute, joined with AAF Dallas and 4A’s, hosted an event called “Broccoli for Breakfast.” The event offered breakfast to all attendees and a guest speaker Clark Rector, EVP Government Affairs for AAF, and his lecture “A Targeted Industry in an Unpredictable Political Environment.”

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Speaker Clark Rector at the podium.

As the EVP Government Affairs for AAF, Rector is in charge of the grassroots lobbying efforts of the AAF and its’ members. They have been successful in defeating ad tax proposals and other threats to the advertising industry in Congress.

Many industry professionals, including various TAI professors, made their way to the SMU campus to hear Rector speak about the effects of politics on the advertising industry and what the advertising community can do to get involved.

“I really enjoyed Clark’s speech about the role of advertising in our local and national economy,” TAI Professor Eunjin (Anna) Kim said. “As he said, people think [about] advertising negatively, such as advertising promotes materialism, ignores fundamental needs but creates unnecessary desires, and deceives consumers. It’s not easy for us to think about positive side of advertising, even for me. As an advertising faculty, I can say, ‘well advertising provides information, educates consumers, and even sometimes is entertaining.’ But that’s all that I can think of. I haven’t really thought about the economic role of advertising. It creates millions of jobs and boosts sales, representing 15% of the total economic output in the State. Advertising indeed pays a vital role in our society, just like the event name, ‘Broccoli for Breakfast’!”

Attendees in the Martha Mack Proctor Ballroom at SMU.
Attendees in the Martha Mack Proctor Ballroom at SMU.

TAI is passionate about staying informed on all current topics in the advertising industry, hosting guest speakers periodically throughout the year.

Design from the Heart 

MendenhallCherylBy Cheryl Mendenhall, Senior Lecturer

Here at the Temerlin Advertising Institute we stress the importance of responsibility in advertising, whether that is professional responsibility, social responsibility, or the everyday choices we make in our field. My focus is in graphic design, and I wanted to share with you some of the many ways design can be used for the greater good. It can be small things like using recycled paper or soy ink in a project or something big like designing a way for people to communicate in health care situations where there may be a language barrier.

Many non-profits struggle to get their message heard; we as designers can help develop strategies and create materials to accomplish their unique goals.

HRMYou may know immediately what cause speaks to you, but if not, there are many resources available to help you find a connection. American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) has a program called Design for Good described as “a movement to ignite, accelerate and amplify design-driven social change.” On their website they showcase inspiring projects and provide a wide variety of resources including ways for connecting designers and non-profits, groups that provide learning opportunities, and sources for funding and support grants for your self-initiated projects.

Or how about this? What do you get when you combine creatives, non-profits and a super quick deadline? A fantastic idea for helping out non-profits – a 24-hour createathon. Now that’s a GOOD reason to pull an all-nighter.

Here are some projects I find interesting:KZoo

I began working with non-profits early in my career as a way to give back when I didn’t have the money to donate. I continue to do it now because it brings me joy.

How we use our skills is up to us. I encourage you to find something that speaks to your heart and share your skills.

Temerlin Advertising Institute Hosts Dr. Padmini Patwardhan from Winthrop University as 2015-2016 Research Fellow

Dr. Patwardhan visited TAI last week to undertake research related to leadership issues in the advertising industry. She spent her week interviewing faculty and industry professionals to gain insight into the leadership process. She will also be undertaking interviews with executives in NYC. During her visit, she was able to interact with faculty and get to experience a taste of Texas fun at the Katy Trail Ice House.

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Temerlin Advertising Institute (TAI) at Southern Methodist University is a research-oriented institute composed of distinguished faculty with both industry and academic backgrounds. The purpose of the TAI Research Fellows program is to foster research collaboration and provide catalysts for advancing our understanding of the field of advertising.

 

 

TAI Graduate Backyard BBQ Mixer

A great time was had by new and returning MA in advertising students as well as TAI Faculty & Staff last week at the home of Professor Noble, Co-ordinator of the TAI MA in Advertising program.  

4 Steve gives thanks speach  5 Bruce-Cheryl-Erica-Colleen-MustafizStudents representing several states and countries from as far away as Bangladesh and mainland China attended. The weather was great and everyone had a chance to mix and mingle before the hard work begins.

7 Preston-Diana-Marin-Erica-April-Snow-2016 MA cohort 8 Alice-Peter-David BBQ cooking

For more information on the TAI Master’s in Advertising program, click here.

9 Amber&Kevin at BBQ 12 Katie & Cady