The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

High-definition research

Advertising class polls Dallas-area residents on commercials, HDTV

The Super Bowl is over, but the work was just beginning forprofessor Alice Kendrick’s advertising research class.

The students spent hours on the phone.

They were not discussing the excitement of the last minutes orthe scandal at halftime. Instead, they were doing theirhomework.

Kendrick’s students administered a telephone survey to arandom sample of 300 Dallas-area residents who watched at least onehour of Super Bowl programming on Feb. 1.

Their purpose was twofold: to gather information regarding theviewers’ awareness of Super Bowl advertising and to researchthe viewers’ awareness and perceptions of high-definitiontelevision.

“Our students did what you pay polling firms to do,”Kendrick said.

Kendrick’s classes often conduct various types ofmarketing and advertising related research projects for a”class client,” including surveys, focus groups,experiments, mystery shopping, taste tests and executiveinterviews.

This year, the client is HDNet, an HDTV programming companyowned by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The company chose towork with SMU because of the convenience of having students from a”first-class advertising school” in the area, said KarlMeisenbach, director of advertising for HDNet.

“We’re just looking to uncover anything wearen’t currently aware of,” Meisenbach said.

The advertising research class has a long history of tailoringits projects to the needs of real world companies, organizations,businesses or non-profits

“It’s a special challenge to maximize the benefitsof opportunities that come our way for the students,”Kendrick said.

Sophomore creative advertising student Kacy Jones looks forwardto working with HDNet.

“I think that it is a great way to get informed about thepresent and future technological changes that are in store for ourgeneration,” Jones said. “It is also very exciting tobe involved in some of the fundamental research of HDTV and beinginvited to do so as young as we are.”

Kendrick has much experience in integrating real worldadvertising and marketing challenges into the confines of asemester long class of undergraduates. She refers to such projectsas “academic triple-plays.”

“It’s good for the students, which is the mainthing,” Kendrick said. “It’s good for the client,and it’s a good situation for the program and theprofessor.”

With the proper permission, the findings can be reported inacademic journals and trade publications. In other cases, the classclient owns the rights to the information.

“We’re actually generating knowledge,”Kendrick said.

The class has found that the most remembered commercials wereBudweiser, Bud Lite, Pepsi and the NFL. Overall, viewers consideredthe game and programming to be more interesting than thecommercials. Kendrick said that this question has not been asked inprevious years.

In addition to the survey, Kendrick’s students willprepare secondary and qualitative research reports on topicsrelating to high definition television. They will also conductbasic experimental research for HDNet to measure viewer reactionsto high-definition images in programs and advertisements and todetermine the public’s familiarity with and use of HDTV.

Kendrick said that the issue of television capability isimportant, yet confusing, to consumers.

“Our survey results showed that one third of Dallasresidents we interviewed don’t fully understand thecapabilities of the television sets in their own homes,”Kendrick said.

In addition, 13 percent of those surveyed were not sure if theyhad seen high-definition programming.

Kendrick cites several reasons for the confusion, includingannouncements that programs are being broadcast in HD, terminologythat TVs are “HD ready” or “HD capable,”proliferation of different television receivers and thecomplications of actually receiving the HD signal.

Over the years, class clients have often presented SMU withdonations, grants or products. HDNet donated a 65-inch HDTV to theTemerlin Advertising Institute and Meadows School of the Arts. Thetelevision was displayed before and after the Exxon Mobiladvertising ethics lecture on Feb. 5 and will be used for theclass’ experimental research.

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