Television and Political Advertising: Psychological Processes - Vol. 1

By Frank Biocca | Go to book overview

3 Models of a Successful and an Unsuccessful Ad: An Exploratory Analysis

Frank Biocca University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This chapter provides a set of examples, exploratory analyses of two political commercials using the conceptual framework of the schematic- framing approach (see Biocca, Chapter 2, this volume). The analyses are intended to illustrate some of the issues that might arise in the initial phase of generating hypothesized mental models for political commercials. The analyses are further illustrated by reference to some computerized audience response data, focus group interviews, and in-depth interviews. The data were collected from uncommitted voters in focus groups conducted in the final 2 weeks of the 1988 presidential election.1

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1
Note on method: The data were collected by the author and a team of researchers and journalists on Tuesday, October 16, 1988 in Springfield, Ohio. The data collection was part of a study designed as a test of political ads for a USA TODAY article and, therefore, was not designed to test the schematic framing model. Some of the results were subsequently reported in USA TODAY ( Katz, 1988a, 1988b).

Subjects

Thirty-five undecided voters were randomly selected from the Springfield, Ohio community because Ohio was a "swing state" and Springfield was a "bellwether" community that had tended to vote for the winning presidential candidate in past presidential elections. Subjects were paid $30 to participate. The political makeup of the group included 10 Republicans, 13 Democrats, and 12 independents. The 35 subjects were divided into two focus groups.

Stimuli

Subjects viewed a videotape containing 20 political commercials embedded within programming and nonpolitical commercials. Half the test commercials were Bush ads and

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