Monthly Archives: April 2017

Can Commercials Change Minds on Social Issues?

I recently finished reading social psychologist Albert Bandura’s new book, Moral Disengagement, in which he presents what amounts to an extensive literature survey on how social interactions can influence personal behaviors. Among other things, he presents studies of how using radio and television serial programs scripted to present themes like women’s empowerment and using communication rather than violence to resolve disputes have worked in various countries around the world.

There is no question we are all influenced by what we see and hear others do. And as Stanford researchers Reeves and Nass have shown us in The Media Equation, what we see on TV is just as real to us as interaction with a real person, one-on-one.

So, if serial dramas (soap operas, if you will) can bring about change, what about the micro-dramas of commercials and advertising?

Here is a link to a pretty long spot for Heineken that is very thought-provoking and, at least in my view, very needed right now. Take a look at this piece from the Ladders job search site and see if you agree.

eSports on the Rise and Gamers are Altruistic

Great article in the current Ad Age about the incredible growth of eSports. The article notes that one young man dropped out of school to play games like Call of Duty full time and claimed he would be making more money than his parents. In fact, his earnings came to over $200,000 in prize money.

Advertisers are getting on board and Ad Age points out they need to be in it for the long haul or gamers and their fans may punish them economically. Turns out that gamers seem to be a pretty altruistic bunch. What’s up with that?

Given all the negative attention about violent video games and their supposed effects on aggression and violence, what accounts for this altruism? Seems like a very ripe area for some empirical research to me!


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