Digital Advertising Agency Los Angeles Studies on Advertising’s Social Responsibilities

Staff Writer: Carolyn Johnson

Date: 5.28.2012


Most Los Angeles marketing agencies will tell you that, along with an advertiser’s basic job of appealing to a consumer, more complex issues of social responsibility also come into play. By the very exposing nature of advertising, advertisers must be held accountable for what they expose to the public, and should probably be castigated if the advertisement is found generally inappropriate for the setting and circumstances, as observed by any digital advertising agency Los Angeles. Los Angeles marketing firms, and others outside of Los Angeles, have studied a variety of issues associated with consumers’ relationship with advertisements.

One important study in the arena is recorded in the article, “The Effects of Warning Label Placement in Print Ads: A Social Contract Perspective” (Journal of Advertising, 2007). Warning labels in print ads and products seem to serve as the social contract theory in action. The social contract theory shows paradoxical behavior in a consumer, in that a consumer may put a high value on a brand that includes a clear warning label, whether than a lower value.

This study regarding the practice of warning labels went about testing the effectiveness of warning label placement, measuring consumer response based on either the overt or discreet nature of the ad. This study was used to better help understand current warning label practices, as well as foster different designs for the warning placements and ads.

The study showed that warning label practices varied between different types of products, such as tobacco, alcohol, and food. With tobacco and alcohol ads, for example, the warning ads were very large and prominent, although other companies made their ads more discreet.

The results of the study showed that consumers will generally have a more favorable attitude toward the ad when the warning label is more overt, as opposed to when the warning label is more discreet. Consumers will likely perceive the company and brand as being more social responsible when the warning label is more apparent, making consumers more likely to purchase said product from that brand.

The emergence of the digital age has exposed us to internet advertising Los Angeles. Marketing firms have thoroughly studied the rampant nature of internet ad campaigns, finding that the Internet has produced thousands upon thousands of ads. Many such viral ads include humor, which could always serve as an advantage for any ad campaign. With humor in advertising comes a possible conflict, however, if the humor goes as far as to conceal an advertiser’s claim that’s possibly deceptive.

Researchers went about studying humor’s effect on masking deceptive ad content by constructing narratives of various humorous ads and were measured based on what’s called a dimensional qualitative research approach (DQR), which evaluates an ad’s content on several dimensions, including: behavioral, imagery, cognitive, sensory, interpersonal, socio-cultural and health-related dimensions.

Disturbingly, the studies showed that over seventy percent of these ads contained deceptive claims, and three-quarters of those deceptive ads used humor to mask the deception. Specific forms of humor were also found to be more commonly used for the specific false data in the ad. The effects of masking such deception with humor are shown to lessen the severity of the claims, perhaps on a more unconscious level.

Advertisers have a responsibility to remain ethical and honest to the public.  It is important that businesses use the services of advertising firms that observe best practices.

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