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Celebrating 50 years, the Journal of Advertising Research 50th Anniversary Special Edition is packed with analysis and insights from over 40 internationally renowned academics and industry leaders.
In his editorial Geoffrey Precourt highlights the reason behind our Advertising Ethics issue: "The marketing rules of engagement have changed. Consumers—not marketers—control the message. And, in such a volatile marketplace, the context has changed from 'what if' to 'when' when compromises in advertising ethics come under consideration."
Mind Over Metrics by Pat LaPointe
Pat LaPointe looks at the relationship between social media, traditional media and offline word of mouth. The impact of social media can be over-estimated: "The simple fact is that if there was no stimulus from the traditional media (or if the impact was beneath some observable threshold), there might be no material reverberation in the social-media space," while offline word of mouth can be a surprisingly strong indicator of increased sales.
Review by Heather James
Featuring the three case studies from the campaigns that won the three top ARF David Ogilvy Awards:
Richard F. Beltramini
In his guest editorial, Richard Beltramini presents a call to action for everyone involved in the advertising industry to pay some much-needed attention to advertising ethics: "It is about time academics and practitioners in the business of advertising sincerely begin working together to advance this decades-long undercurrent of nascent interest in advertising ethics. We can no longer be satisfied with role-playing vignettes or corporate hallways decorated with laminated codes displaying public-relations pabulum… I hope this initiative will encourage others to work toward a national summit on advertising ethics, the identification of advertising ethics fellows interacting globally on significant research topics, a national directory of industry speakers on advertising ethics, and perhaps, in time, even a Journal of Advertising Ethics."
This article presents the case to advertising professionals for the need to enhance advertising ethics in order to build consumer trust in the company and its brands. It cites research showing that consumers do not trust advertising much of the time. Key ethical concerns are discussed, including children's advertising, the blurring of advertising with news and entertainment, and behavioral advertising. In the end, it is the responsibility of the ad professionals to resolve ethical concerns proactively, and they must be encouraged to do so from the top down, and given clear permission to express their concerns.
Vincent Cicchirillo and Jhih-Syuan Lin
In response to the rising rate in childhood obesity and the increasing number of child-targeted interactive games employed by food marketers and health advocates, this study examined food-related advergaming content for for-profit and non-profit organizations' Web sites. The authors conducted a content analysis of 80 interactive games (40 for-profit and 40 non-profit). The results showed differences in the interactive-gaming genre types employed by non-profit and for-profit organizations. This research adds considerably to the literature about the ways in which children learn healthy food habits/behaviors. Managerial and practical implications are provided to address the need to advance socially responsible methods for organizations.
Felicia M. Miller and Gene R. Laczniak
Celebrity athletes are a mainstay of popular culture and an increasingly important part of the marketing ecosystem. As product endorsers, they can influence brand attitudes and sales but also have broader societal implications for the firm. The recent string of bad behavior by celebrity athletes raises important ethical questions about firms that use the famous and infamous to endorse branded products. The conceptual framework presented in the current study provides a theoretical approach—based on virtue ethics—for evaluating the retention of tainted celebrity affiliates. The author applies this framework to three well known athletes to examine the ethical implications of what initially were good choices for firms, their brands, and their consumers. The overarching goal of the study is to stimulate managers to think more deeply about the interconnections between their core company values, the athlete endorsers they select, and the ultimate effect of those decisions on their brands in the marketplace if things go wrong.
Andrea J. S. Stanaland, May O. Lwin, and Anthony D. Miyazaki
Consumer views of advertiser ethics are of industry concern due to growing consumer angst regarding data privacy and behavioral advertising. Several privacy trustmarks have been created to address consumer concerns, potentially acting as seals of approval regarding privacy practices. The authors examine whether a privacy trustmark's ability to influence consumer perceptions of advertiser ethics and privacy concerns is moderated by consumer desire for privacy and attitude toward advertising in general. Using an online advertising context, the results show that a privacy trustmark can enhance the perceived ethics of an online advertiser for certain market segments but not for others.
Thomas Hove, Hye-Jin Paek, and Tom Isaacson
As consumers improve their eHealth literacy skills, their trust in commercial Web sites that provide reliable information ironically might decrease. Informed by the persuasion knowledge model, this study examined how much adolescents trusted and relied on commercial and brand Web sites as a source of health information. Both before and after an eHealth literacy intervention among 182 middle-schoolers, students perceived commercial and brand Web sites to be the least reliable and trustworthy sources of health information. Practical and managerial implications are discussed regarding advertisers' efforts in the age of new media to uphold social responsibility and regain consumer trust.
Gergely Nyilasy and Leonard N. Reid
Newspaper journalists and advertising directors were surveyed to update and extend research on advertising pressure. Results reveal that:
"JAR keeps us grounded—years of valuable experience written and shared with the industry to help keep us focused on more meaningful marketing and research practices."
Kate Sirkin – Starcom MediaVest Group