Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Communication and Information

Major Professor

Mariea Grubbs Hoy

Committee Members

Eric Haley, Suzzie Allard, Chad Autry

Abstract

This study focused on parents of children between the ages of 7 to 11 and their ability to recognize and understand a children’s advergame as advertising. Using the theoretical framework of the Persuasion Knowledge Model (PKM), this study experimentally tested the effects of advertising disclosures and cognitive load on parents’ activation of persuasion knowledge in children’s advergames and parents’ attitudes toward children’s advergames. In addition, this study examined how parents’ individual trait differences in persuasion knowledge and mediation of their children’s Internet use potentially influenced their persuasion knowledge in children’s advergames as well as their attitudes toward them. By conducting an online experiment (N = 202), the study revealed that: a) parents exposed to a single modality advertising disclosure reported significantly more selling and persuasion knowledge of children’s advergames compared to parents exposed to an advergame without an advertising disclosure; b) parents that experienced high(er) levels of cognitive load reported significantly less selling and persuasion knowledge of children’s advergames compared to parents that experienced low(er) levels of cognitive load; c) parents’ exposed to the dual modality advertising disclosure condition reported significantly less negative perceptions of children’s advergames compared to parents who were exposed to no advertising disclosure; c) as parents reported higher levels of trait persuasion knowledge, their associated reports of selling and persuasion knowledge within children’s advergames were lower. In addition to implications for prior and future applications of persuasion knowledge theory, managerial and practitioner implications are also provided.

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