Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Roxanne Hovland

Committee Members

Catherine A.Luther, Ronald E. Taylor


Although warning labels on products and in advertising have been much studied and discussed in the past several decades, the effect of text size on recall of these messages has been largely ignored, particularly with regard to alcohol advertising. Guided by the bottom-up model of visual attention processing, this study hypothesizes that a responsibility message with larger text attracts more consumer attention and creates greater message recall. One hundred twenty three magazine alcohol ads were collected in preliminary research, and the average size of their responsibility messages was found to be approximately 6 points. An experimental survey of college students was conducted, using alcohol ads with responsibility messages of three different text sizes: 6 point, 10 point, and 14 point. Analysis of the results of this survey showed that recall of the 10 point messages was significantly greater than that of the 6 point, but that there was not a statistically significant difference between recall of the 10 point and the 14 point messages. This study therefore suggests 10 point of the 3 choices as the minimum text size for responsibility messages in alcohol advertisements.

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