Published by the School of Communications, Elon University

Fall 2014 Issue

Download the PDF of the entire Fall 2014 Issue


Who You Are Affects What You Buy:
The Influence of Consumer Identity on Brand Preferences

By Morgan A. Ilaw

The products that people buy can act as signals of identity, with brands making a statement about who they are and what they enjoy. This study examined the extent to which self-concepts determine brand preference. A survey of 65 participants using linear regression analysis showed significant support for two hypotheses: first, that individuals would prefer brands with images congruent with their own self-image, and second, that participants would prefer brands consonant with their own group associations. Faculty mentor: Dr. David Copeland


Humanizing a Brand: Consumer Relationships
through an Anthropomorphic Lens

By Kristen Calabro

Brand loyalty develops as an intermixing of self-image and brand image, and anthropomorphized brands succeed when their ideal traits are utilized as brand personality components. To test the relationship between anthropomorphism and ideal traits, this study surveyed 211 Elon students and compared their preference for four brands from two industries. One brand from each industry utilized anthropomorphism techniques in the form of a spokescharacter, while the other brand did not. Results found that the use of a spokescharacter created significant brand preference. Faculty mentor: Dr. David Copeland


Representations of American Culture in Food Advertisements
in Mainstream, Latina, and African-American Magazines

By Laura Van Drie

As America’s ethnic population grows, it becomes increasingly important for advertisers to understand which messages resonate with different racial and ethnic groups. This study analyzed 54 advertisements for food products, grocery stores and restaurants in nine major women’s magazines. Ads in mainstream magazines often emphasized that nutritious and delicious food could be part of a busy lifestyle, ads in Latina magazines associated food with family, and ads in African-American magazines contained mostly taste-related claims. Faculty mentor: Dr. David Copeland


Interactive Graphic Novels:
A Hybrid Advertising Technique

By Mike Ayer

Marketers and advertisers are pairing traditional advertising with new web-based techniques to create innovative ways to communicate. This study analyzed Interactive Graphic Novels -- animated, graphically illustrated or hybrid real-life animation stories typically in video game format in which users are given some level of interaction with events or control over a story’s outcome. This study found that IGNs are an effective tactic for advertising and marketing professionals with the means to create them because they appeal to multiple human senses and harness the power of persuasion through storytelling. Faculty mentor: Dr. Naeemah Clark


Historical Evolution of Feminism
as Reflected in the Content of American Women's Magazines

By Kyra Gemberling

Feminism became a frequent discussion topic in American media as it gained prominence and validity over time. This study analyzed how feminism was represented in U.S. women’s magazines published during particular time periods. The study also drew upon secondary sources such as scholarly articles to identify trends and themes reflecting feminist values in U.S. women’s magazines throughout history. The research highlights the role of media in reflecting America’s ever-changing political and cultural landscape. Faculty mentor: Dr. Michael Frontani


How Christian Leaders Interact with Twitter

By Zachary Horner

Twitter’s founding resulted in an outburst in the use of the social media platform. Christian leaders quickly caught on, and today they use Twitter for a number of different purposes, seeking first and foremost to challenge and inspire followers. Through a study of the tweets of 30 Christian leaders, as well as blog posts, articles and interviews outlining different approaches to Twitter and other social media, the study concluded that pastors were most concerned with conveying the basic message of Christianity while adapting their methods to include the new medium of Twitter. Faculty mentor: Dr. George Padgett


From "Pockets of Poverty" to Potential for Prosperity :
Mass Media Narratives of Poverty in Appalachia

By Gloria So

President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty while in Kentucky in January 1964. This research examined poverty in Appalachia as portrayed in The New York Times and a local newspaper, The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky., for both that time frame and 50 years later in January 2014. Using narrative and content analysis, the research found The Times primarily focused on economic issues and using more negative language in 1964, in comparison with the local paper. The study found that the two newspapers switched their coverage pattern 50 years later. Faculty mentors: Dr. Kenn Gaither and Dr. David Copeland