Study: A Group’s Adaptation to a Threat is Pertinent to Its Survival During a Public Health Crisis
A new study has found that the efficiency of a group’s adaptation to a threat is particularly pertinent to its survival. The findings by Cynthia Morton, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (UFCJC) Advertising professor, doctoral students Sophia Mueller and Hye Soo Chang, alumnus Naa Amponsah Dodoo, Ph.D. 2017, and University of Illinois Professor Jorge Villegas were featured in “Advertising in the Times of COVID: A Tight-Loose Analysis of Pandemic-Related TV Commercials” published in the Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising on Dec. 9.
The research study explored normative beliefs advocated in the earlier stage of the COVID-19 health crisis using the Tight-Loose Theory and Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory to analyze COVID-centered ads that ran from March to June 2020.
According to the authors, “This study explored advertising’s contribution to public compliance to efforts at containing the virus’s spread during the first phase of COVID-19 campaigns. The outcome is contrary to what one might expect in the US, a country where a loose orientation generally dominates societal norms. This research establishes a benchmark for comparison with the evolutionary stages of branded messages related to COVID-19.”
They add, “This research is the first to systematically apply tight-loose theory to analyze advertising messages created to communicate companies’ solidarity with the unfolding public policies and government directives to manage the contagion. The study provides a valuable resource to companies and NGOs that seek to utilize advertising to promote their commitment to complex health issues in societies with different levels of influence on their societal norms.”