News

Professor examines effects of ad repetition

Attack ads flood election season, and a UM professor sought to explore the effects of these negative political advertisements.

A new study by Juliana Fernandes, assistant professor of strategic communications at the School of Communication, shows that negative advertising is most effective when aired in moderation, but can have backlash if shown very frequently.

The study was conducted at the University of Florida with students who participated in two separate tests.

The first test had 150 students watch a series of advertisements that included multiple product ads and a negative political ad about a candidate that participants were unlikely to recognize. The participants were exposed to the ad either one, three or five times.

In the second experiment, Fernandes had 306 students watch a 30-minute television program interspersed with product advertisements and ads for the candidate to create a more realistic setting.

The participants were asked to evaluate the sponsor of the ad and the attacked candidates, as well as their likelihood of voting for them.

The results showed that the likelihood of voting for the sponsor candidate was highest when the participants were exposed to the ad three times, and lowest when they were exposed to the ad five times.

In addition, the study found that with longer time intervals between repetition of the ad, people were more in line of the sponsor candidate and held a more negative opinion of the target candidate. This was true even with increased repetition, suggesting that the sponsor candidate can avoid the backlash effect by allowing larger time intervals between ad exposures.

“This shows that if a candidate chooses to use negative ads, they should choose a schedule that’s spread out with a wider time frame,” Fernandes said. “So for each repetition, a person can learn a little. If it’s all at once, people get tired, bored and turn it off.”

Fernandes said she hopes for this study to benefit candidates who do not have the money to make several advertisements, so they can instead air one advertisement strategically.

“It depends on what message your ad is conveying, but you don’t need a large budget to have a good campaign,” said sophomore Samantha Levy, an advertising major.

Fernandes also hopes it will help raise awareness on how individuals learn and how to best utilize that knowledge. People learn through repetition, she said.

“It helps memory and learning if we watch something over and over again,” Fernandes said. “We will even be able to learn about candidates and their issues and traits, and because it’s a negative ad, people will be able to evaluate it more critically. More informed voters will be more critical of who they are voting for and will seek more information.”

This study, “Effects of Negative Political Advertising and Message Repetition on Candidate Evaluation” will be published in the March 2013 edition of the journal “Mass Communication and Society.”

In the future, Fernandes aims to continue investigating the effects of negative advertisements on voter behavior by incorportaing information such as party affiliation and gender.

October 21, 2012

About Author

Ashley Martinez Ashley Martinez is a senior majoring in journalism and psychology, which have sharpened her people-watching skills. She has worked as a staff writer, copy editor, assistant editor and is now the Edge arts and entertainment editor at The Miami Hurricane. She serves as the president of UM's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Her work has been featured in The Hurricane, Distraction Magazine, The Communique, Gables Home Page and The Miami Herald. When she's not working on a story, she loves going to the theatre and singing show tunes.


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman’s ultimate goal has always been the same: ...

Just one glance at Brad Kaaya throwing passes Tuesday after the University of Miami’s first spring f ...

Yes, the Hurricanes’ uncertainty at quarterback has created some uneasiness, as Mark Richt told me r ...

Senior guards Adrienne Motley and Jessica Thomas sat slumped over on the Watsco Center floor late Mo ...

Spring has sprung for the University of Miami football program. Practice, closed to the public, had ...

Sir James Galway, Distinguished Presidential Scholar, inspires flute students with his artistry and ...

Activist and community organizer Alicia Garza stresses the need for a richness of ideas to help solv ...

UM physicist studies the unexpected consequences of sub-second delays on fast-moving data systems ...

The world renown flautist joins the Frost School of Music ...

A fluid multi-platform exhibition examines the impacts of climate change through art, research, medi ...

The No. 37 Miami women's tennis team will head north to take on Boston College Friday at 1 p.m. ...

Miami head volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara is excited to announce the dates for the 2 ...

Briadam Herrera picked up the third All-America honor of his career Thursday with a fifth-place fini ...

The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame will hold the 49th Annual UMSHoF Induction Banquet on Tu ...

Football players Braxton Berrios and Demetrius Jackson, soccer player Phallon Tullis-Joyce, cross co ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.