Manship Research Earns Top Honors at 2018 AEJMC Conference

If you’re familiar with the U.S., you know this country loves its football. And if you know that, chances are you know that ‘football season’ culminates in the Super Bowl. Of the 330 million people calling the U.S. home, 110 million watch the Super Bowl annually; that’s about one third of the U.S. population. The Super Bowl’s popularity even coincides with lowered crime rates during game time because, as people turn their attention to the game, fewer engage in crimes.

“It’s the only TV program in the world that 40 percent of all people watch at the same time. It’s the most important media event,” said Yongick Jeong, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at the Manship School.

The Super Bowl’s annual buzz creates a major opportunity for advertisers to get their products noticed with the characteristically clever or heartwarming ads that form a favorite fan part of every game. But, as any Super Bowl watcher knows, not all ads are created equal. Should we chalk this inequality up to variations in the advertisers and their creative teams, or could other factors be at play?

According to Jeong and Manship graduate students Gawon Kim and Ian Skupski in their prize-winning paper, “Another Super Bowl Study: An Exploratory Research on the Impacts of Ad Effectiveness Factors on Consumer Engagement on Social Media,” factors like ad clutter (the number of ads airing during a break) and when the ad plays compared with the rest of the ads affect if and how the audience interacts with the brand on social media. This interaction, which includes things like audience tweeting and use of hashtags the brands used in their ads, gives advertisers a window into what air times during the Super Bowl are most effective.

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Manship School researchers Gawon Kim, Ian Skupski, and Yongick Jeong

What Kim, Skupski and Jeong found challenges the assumptions of prior research on Super Bowl ad placement and effectiveness. While previous research indicated that ad space at the beginning of the game tends to be best at getting consumer attention and social media engagement, the Manship School team found something different.

“Contrary to previous findings that usually primary placement is the most effective, we found ads aired in the break between the 3rd and 4th quarter to be the most effective,” Kim said.

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Manship School Ph.D. candidate Gawon Kim presents the Manship School team’s award-winning research at their Pizza & Papers presentation

Even more surprising, Kim, Skupski and Jeong’s research found that ads aired during more “cluttered” times later in the game actually performed better than ads aired early on, during less cluttered times. This also contradicted their expectations and prior research, which suggests more clutter dilutes the effect of individual ads.

“Ad clutter is where things get interesting,” Kim said, “the results came back in the opposite direction we expected: if there was more clutter, people talked about it more on social media.”

Kim said the team thinks these results make sense in the unique context of the Super Bowl program.

“During the first through third quarters of the Super Bowl, people socialize and mingle. They might not be paying as much attention to the game or the ads. But as it gets closer to the climax, people focus more on the game and the ads,” Kim said.

In this research, which took top honors in the advertising division of this year’s AEJMC research awards, Kim, Skupski and Jeong limited their measures of engagement to Facebook and Twitter intentionally, Skupski said, because these platforms offer engagement opportunities that differ from each other in their direction and audience.

“Facebook is good for two-way interaction, me to you and you to me. It’s based on personal relationship building,” he said, “while Twitter is more of a microblogging site based on transmission and pursuit of information, so me to everyone.”

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Manship School Masters in Mass Communication student Ian Skupski discusses consumer engagement for Super Bowl ads

Besides the ever-popular Super Bowl topic and their illuminating findings, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) chose to honor their research at their annual conference with the top advertising division award because of how they did it, Jeong said.

“The primary reason AEJMC selected our paper was because of the innovative way we used existing data to create new research,” he said.

The Manship School team combined existing data that included USA Today’s Ad Meter, which polls audience responses to Super Bowl ads, with their own analysis in this innovative project. This makes their results even more helpful for advertisers looking to maximize their ads’ power.

“Because we used a set of real-world data from the Super Bowl, our results are more generalizable than typical lab experiments,” Kim said.

Pizza & Papers gives Manship School faculty and graduate students a weekly chance to share their research with the rest of the Manship School community. Come for the pizza, stay to see the innovative ways your peers and professors are making waves in mass communication.

Article by Graduate Student Mary Chiappetta

Q&A with Tiffany Landry, a Digital Advertising Major at the Manship School

Hi, my name is Tiffany Landry, originally from Lafitte, Louisiana, and I’m a digital advertising student here at the Manship School.

How did the Manship School help you land your internship and develop skills you’d need for the internship?

The Manship School helped me find the LSU Advertising Federation, which helped me make connections with Manship School students, Manship School faculty and advertising/marketing professionals that have led to all three of my internships.

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I landed an interview for my first internship at MESH in Baton Rouge after touring the agency with LSU AdFed the summer after my sophomore year. Following our tour, a Manship and LSU AdFed alum who works there recommended me to the social media coordinator for an internship position. My writing samples from Manship courses played a huge part in me being selected for the position because the role involved a lot of writing.

My recent summer internship wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Manship faculty member, Dr. Heo. He recommended me for AAF’s Vance and Betty Lee Stickell Internship program. He helped me throughout the whole application process by writing letters of recommendation and giving me advice on my application materials. I applied to this honors internship program and was honored to be selected as one of 17 students from universities across the country. After a series of interviews, I was placed with an advertising agency named Slingshot in Dallas, Texas as a strategy and insights intern.

ACS_0183My skills and projects from the Manship School helped me throughout my interview process. I was able to use projects I worked on in class as examples of work I did in my interviews. My resume also includes many of the programs I learned to use in Manship courses including: Adobe Creative Suite and Simmons OneView. Throughout my internship, I used skills from my Manship courses including: writing survey questionnaires, conducting interviews, using research platforms, creating presentation decks, teamwork and presenting.

What’s your favorite aspect of the Manship School?

My favorite aspect of the Manship School is hands-on learning. In the digital advertising concentration, we learn new skills and then apply those skills to real or hypothetical situations. My favorite classes are those where we’re given a real or hypothetical client, and we use the skills we learned in class to create something for them such as a media plan, create concepts or a campaign. These projects help you learn or get better at similar processes advertising professionals do. They are great examples to include in your portfolio and to talk about during interviews.

5 Money Management Tips for College

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Manship Ambassador & Public Relations Major, Amie Martinez

By Manship Ambassador & Public Relations Major Amie Martinez

One of the hardest things I had to learn when I got to college was how to “adult” when it came to money.  Money management can seem overwhelming as a student, especially when you start to buy your own groceries, organization dues, rent, Spotify subscription… (need I go on?). To avoid stressing out over cash, here are my top five money management tips for college.

Build a Budget for (Pretty Much) Everything

When you make a budget, it’s easier to track exactly what you’re spending and spot where you may need to cut back. Budgets allow you to be more mindful of your spending on things from tuition and rent to fast food and your Netflix subscription. It can help you save up for important things in the future like buying a car or paying off student loans, or create wiggle room for an emergency fund for those unexpected expenses. The LSU Cale P. & Katherine Smith Student Financial Management Center offers a free budgeting worksheet for you to fill with anything and everything for your life. It may look pretty intimidating at first, but just take it one category at a time, and you’ll see how budgeting can help. Keep in mind that just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

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If you haven’t noticed already, textbooks are expensive. It’s not fun to spend way more money than you’d like on books just because your classes require you to have them. The best way to avoid the money crunch is to avoid buying new textbooks if you can. The LSU Bookstore offers options to buy or rent used textbooks and even have online editions! It’s a good idea to also search around on sites like Chegg, Amazon, Valore and many others to find your best option to save cash. You can even sell your old textbooks to any of those resources I just mentioned if you don’t need that textbook anymore and want to get some quick cash.

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Credit cards can either be really helpful or wreak havoc in your life as a college student. It’s a smart move to begin building credit to help you when it’s time to buy a house or a car, but it’s easy to make mistakes. If you decide to get a credit card, make sure you do the homework and pick the best option for your own unique needs.

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Finding a part-time job while in college is one of the most rewarding things you can do not only for your bank account but also for hands-on experience. It’s a great way to give yourself some spending cash and pay off student loans if you have any while you’re still in school. The LSU Olinde Career Center offers countless resources for ways to find jobs for college students and even provides an online career resource called Handshake to make it super easy to find the best job fit for you!

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One of the first things my mom taught me when I got a job in college was to pay myself first, and I thought, “But what does the heck does that mean, Mom?” She basically meant that every time I got my bi-weekly paycheck, I should put a certain amount of that in my savings account. This method has allowed me to save money more easily and not be as tempted to spend my all of my paycheck. A little can go a long way in helping you reach your goals!

While it’s important to be smart with money, make sure you enjoy your time in college, too! Creating a balance between finance and fun is rewarding and can help you set yourself up for a positive future after graduation.

Study Shows Coping Mechanisms Don’t Decrease Fear in Real-world Events

The last time you heard something that frightened you through the media or a friend, like an unstoppable flu strain or antibiotic resistant bacteria, how did you respond? Was your gut reaction to argue it down, pointing out the flaws of the report to illustrate why its claims were invalid? Or did you avoid the topic, insulating yourself from further exposure to the uncomfortable content? Did you allow yourself to be afraid, or – the exact opposite – did you seek to tamp down on the discomfort of the fear you felt?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you’re not alone, according to a recently published study in the journal PLOS One by James Price Dillard, distinguished professor at Penn State, and
Manship School researchers Chun Yang and Ruobing Li, assistant professors at the Manship School.

Going back to 2016, you may recall the health crisis that rocked the southern U.S. surrounding Zika, a mosquito-transmitted virus whose link with birth defects terrified pregnant or soon to be pregnant moms. This made Dillard, Yang, and Li wonder: what strategies do people use to cope with their fear?

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Mosquitos like these terrified pregnant  moms during the Zika outbreak of 2016 because they had the potential to carry the Zika virus, which could cause birth defects

According to their research, most of the women who reported how they coped with the fear Zika caused them said they used strategies like those listed at the beginning of this article. More than two-thirds, or 71 percent, of women who were childbearing age surveyed in the days and weeks following the 2016 Zika virus scare reported using one of more fear coping strategies; almost half, or 41 percent, said they used multiple strategies, Yang said.

These results confirm what we might expect: frightened people do what they can to manage their fear. What the researchers did not expect, though, came in a surprising result.

“None of these strategies were actually helping people decrease their level of fear,” Dillard said.

Even more surprisingly, engaging in suppression by denying the feeling of fear and ignoring it actually made the participants’ fear worse. Participants who rated high on measures of suppression reported more fear in subsequent surveys, and increased fear was connected with more suppression.

This produced what the researchers term a “spiral of fear.”

“The more effort they put into suppressing their emotions, the more fear they experienced,” Li said.

“They are reinforcing each other,” said Yang.

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The researchers found the “spiral of fear” affected many pregnant or soon to be pregnant moms at risk for Zika infection in these areas, where potentially Zika-bearing mosquitos were likely to thrive 

While the idea of a spiral of fear might conjure images of the inescapable voids you’d encounter in science fiction, uncontrolled fears that spiral out of control on a societal level can produce very real problems for individual and community health, the researchers said.

“If people panic a lot, it could be a disaster for the whole society, and from an individual level experiencing fear could be bad for both physical health and mental health” Li said.

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Ruobing Li, Manship School assistant professor & researcher

Yang adds that while fear can have positive consequences that motivate people to avoid danger and take precautions, threats like Zika are different because there are no tangible steps people can take to protect themselves. To prevent flu infection, we can get a vaccine and wash our hands frequently. To escape Zika infection, we can only avoid mosquitos and infected areas.

Because we don’t live in a bubble, this can have negative effects on local economies and communities.

“In 2009 when H1N1 (swine flu) happened, the estimated cost to the U.S. from closing down all the schools was somewhere between $10 billion to $47 billion, according to some researchers” Yang said, and the healthcare system also bears this strain.

“There are real consequences to having fear at a societal level,” he said.

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Chun Yang, Manship School assistant professor and study researcher

This study was unusual because the researchers got reports from participants as the crisis occurred, collecting the initial survey data within days after the World Health Organization declared Zika a health emergency. But, they didn’t stop there. They collected two more ‘waves’ of data in the following months, which allowed them to measure how the participants felt over time and see the “spiral of fear” relationship develop between the messages people hear through media and their coping strategies, Yang said. This makes their study uncommon because it let them see how coping strategies caused emotional reactions (and vice versa) without isolating people in a lab.

By shedding light on the fact that common coping strategies aren’t working, Li suggests that future research could further explore why people choose certain emotional regulation strategies, and why those strategies either work or don’t.

Article by graduate student Mary Chiappetta

Manship Gave me the Keys to the World

Manship School senior Bailey Allmon is the picture of professional confidence and capability. A public relations major and Spanish language minor, Allmon just returned to LSU from a summer in Austin where she interned with NFP, a leading insurance firm. During her time there, Allmon handled NFP’s social media, worked communications both internally and externally, and even overhauled the company’s entire public relations policy. Allmon credits her experience at the Manship School with preparing her to take on the real world in this internship and her future career. Without the Manship School, she says, “I would definitely not be where I am today.”

A first-generation college student from Silver Springs, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., Allmon says she was drawn to LSU initially because it checked the boxes she was looking for: a big football school located in the south where it’s warm. More importantly, she credits LSU’s recruitment for making her feel important.

“Especially for such a large school, they care about ME,” she said.

Ultimately, though, her visits to Manship School sealed the deal.

“I already knew I wanted to do public relations and communications, and the Manship School had more resources – the faculty, student media, and student organizations – than the other schools I was looking at,” she said.

It was these resources that opened the doors for Allmon to land her internship with NFP. As a public relations major, Allmon had the opportunity to attend the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, an event sponsored by the Manship School’s student chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). There, she attended a networking social hour where she made the connection that got her the internship with NFP.

“I bumped into someone who is now my biggest mentor, my boss. She’s the definition of a PR guru,” she said.

Allmon says the internship gave her the opportunity to grow as a professional both in the experiences she gained and in the softer skills she honed, such as how to more effectively communicate via email, how to be comfortable in a room with top level executives, and other critical workplace functions students may not always think about. She also had the opportunity to make professional connections that she feels will help her throughout her career.

Critically, she felt like her voice mattered.

“Even as an intern, I felt like part of the organization,” she said.

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Allmon at work during her internship with NFP

Allmon credits her Manship professors, especially Manship School public relations professional-in-residence Sadie Wilks and director of the Manship School’s Media Effects Lab Meghan Sanders, for their unwavering support, whether in flexibility about assignments and classes so she could attend conferences or by opening her eyes to the many facets of data and analytics available to the communications practitioner.

“They were there for me every step of the way, helping me make the connections to launch a successful career,” she said.

As she wraps up her senior year at LSU, Allmon said she’s excited that her internship connections could lead to a full-time job. She says she wouldn’t be where she is without the Manship School.

“The possibilities are endless at the Manship School,” she said. “I feel like I have the keys to the world.”

Article by Graduate Student Mary Chiappetta