Advertising America

Study Shows Advertising Can Affect
Attitudes About America

Read More

• The Study
• The Commercials
• The Questionnaire
• Professor Kendrick bio
• Professor Fullerton bio

In October 2002, the U.S. Department of State launched a first-ever public diplomacy campaign featuring television spots promoting the happy lives of American Muslims. The “Shared Values Initiative” advertising campaign ran on a limited schedule throughout the Middle East and Asia through January 2003.

A study by Professors Alice Kendrick of Southern Methodist University and Jami A. Fullerton of Oklahoma State University assessed reactions among international viewers toward the television commercial components of the campaign. International students from various countries who were enrolled at Regents College in London, England in summer 2003 participated in a persuasion experiment similar to those found in World War II propaganda literature.

Results of the study, which will be published in the Journal of Advertising Research this fall, revealed that viewing the Shared Values Initiative commercials produced immediate and significant attitude shifts. Overall attitudes toward the U.S. government as well as whether Muslims were treated fairly in the United States improved significantly after the videos were shown.

Given that the State Department’s informational goal was to inform and persuade international audiences about the freedom of Muslims to live and practice their faith in the United States, the campaign was successful under the experimental.