Grady AdPR department shines at AAA conference

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Nate Evans with “Best Paper Award” at the AAA conference.

The Grady College Department of Advertising and Public Relations brought home two distinguished awards from the American Academy of Advertising conference in Seattle March 17-20.

Nate Evans, assistant professor of advertising at Grady College, and Dooyeon Park, a Grady College doctoral student, earned the “Best Paper Award” for their conference paper.

“This is a remarkable feat—especially for an assistant professor and graduate student,” said Tom Reichert, head of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations. “Their paper was rated as the best among almost 200 submissions by some of the top advertising scholars in the world. We are very pleased.”

Also winning honors were Len Reid, emeritus professor of advertising, with doctoral students Jung Hwan Park and Dooyeon Park and recent graduate Olesya Venger (Ph.D. ’14). They won the top journal article award for the “Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising” for their paper “Replication in Advertising Research, 1980-2012: A Longitudinal Analysis of Advertising Journals.”

“Winning the top JCIRA award is quite a coup for our department,” Reichert said. “This is the second time in three years that a Grady Ad/PR faculty member has brought home this award. It is a true testament to the level of dedicated research our department is producing.”

The top papers are nominated by reviewers of the journal and selected by its ediorial board. In 2014, Reid and Reichert won the award.

The top conference paper by Evans and Park is entitled “The Effects Format, Topic Knowledge, and Experience on Advertising and Brand Recognition for Paid Search Advertising” and describes research about subjects’ ability to identify paid search advertising from mobile versus typical desktop platforms. “We know that there are certain structural differences in how paid advertising is presented on these platforms”, said Evans. An online experiment examined whether people could identify paid search advertising designed for the platforms on which they were being viewed.

During the research, subjects were asked to view either a mobile or desktop screen shot of search advertising on a desktop computer. Nearly 60% of those who viewed the mobile screen shot said a paid ad appeared on the right hand side of the screen. Evans said that, “this level of false advertising recognition is quite interesting but not necessarily surprising. Participants probably expected advertising on the right hand side  because that is where advertising usually appears when seen on a desktop computer.”

“Experience matters in the world of advertising,” said Evans. “The study showed that there are issues with advertising schema. How we make sense of the advertising environment, we believe, is predicated on experience and context in which we are viewing the advertising.”

A second part of the research focused on subjects’ overall experience with advertising. There was an assumption that someone who has seen advertising across multiple places and platforms will be better equipped to know when and where there will be advertising. They created indices designed to capture participants’ breadth and depth of advertising experience. Their findings indicated that participants were better able to recognize brands and paid search advertising when they possessed more breadth of advertising experience.

The Best Conference Paper is a recognition by the AAA where paper reviewers recommend manuscripts for the award. The top four or five papers are reviewed by a committee of five people, including the two immediate past vice-presidents and three research committee members, and one winner is selected.

Author: Sarah Freeman,


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