What is an “Authentic” Brand?

Many studies have shown that consumers want authenticity in advertising and branding and that the perception of authenticity can be an important driver of marketing success. But what exactly does authenticity mean to consumers?   Read more »

Making Prosocial/Cause-Related Ads More Effective

Last year, we reported on an analysis which found that many advertisements with prosocial and cause-related messages are not as effective as surveys on consumer attitudes suggest. This urged researchers to explore how to make such ad messages more effective. Several new studies provide insights on this issue.    Read more »

Inside the Journal of Advertising Research: Sonic Branding, ASMR Engagement, and Who Wins in Activist Messaging?


At this Insights Studio, researchers in Europe, the U.K. and the U.S. presented work in relatively new fields that have high-impact potential for the advertising industry. Starting with a forthcoming paper on sonic branding, the authors described their ground-breaking framework for measuring the implicit effects of sonic branding using music to manipulate visual scenes in video, film and TV. Next, a deep dive into autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)—a sensory-inducing device in ads—included strategies for helping brands collaborate with successful ASMR influencers. Lastly, a preview of an article to be published in the March Prosocial Advertising Special Issue showed how brand activism influences attitudes and purchase intentions, revealing a credibility gap between established activist brands and brands emerging in that space. Taking questions from Paul and from attendees, panelists in the concluding Q&A explored links between sonic branding and ASMR, the demographics of ASMR followers, ways for emergent activist brands to close the credibility gap with established activist brands, and future research possibilities.

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The Importance of Employee Treatment

Most discussions about corporate social responsibility are focused on companies’ efforts regarding sustainability and societal goals. A new study shows that many consumers think that a company’s concern for and treatment of their own workers is a key element of CSR.    Read more »

Established Activist Brands Have a Competitive Edge


Does brand activism—taking a stand on a sociopolitical issue—influence attitudes and purchase intentions, and if so, how? These questions are addressed in new research that identifies a credibility gap between brands that have an established reputation as activists, such as Nike and Ben & Jerry’s, and those that do not. With few exceptions, established activist brands have a lot more to gain than their emergent activist peers when taking a stand.

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How to Measure Trust in Brands

A new study indicates that most measures of brand trust are flawed because they are based on questionable assumptions about consumers’ understanding of “trust”.  Read more »

Cause-Related Ad Effectiveness

An analysis by the ARF concludes that ads with cause-related messages can be effective, but many are not. Future research should focus on which kinds of messages are most effective among different consumer groups. Read more »