[This blog is taken from a recent editorial that appeared in the Journal of Advertising Research entitled “Why We Need More Replication Studies to Keep Empirical Knowledge in Check” by Marla B. Royne. The full-length editorial can be found here]
Advertising research in top advertising journals goes through a rigorous peer-review process to ensure that published articles are of the highest quality. Yet such research is generally published only in these top journals when something novel is reported because previously reported results are believed to be less interesting and unimportant. Despite the rarity of replication research in advertising, Nosek et al (2012) note that replications can help keep existing knowledge in check, yet they argue that academia only rewards novel, positive results. However, controversy about conducting and publishing advertising replications remains.
Replications might be best viewed as a process of conducting similar, but consecutive studies that increasingly consider alternative explanations, critical contingencies, and real-world relevance. This belief is in line with my own work (Royne 2016) and supports the role of replications as a way to reach ultimate understanding of a particular theory or construct.
The Journal of Advertising’s 2016 special issue on “re-inquiries” in advertising research reinforces this notion and published a range of articles reinvestigating advertising questions. The issue included articles that replicated existing studies either empirically or conceptually; in some cases, the publication offered support for the original work and in others, provided different results.
For example, an attempted empirical replication of Gwinner and Eaton (1999) showed the effects of brand sponsorship on image congruence between sponsoring brands and sponsored sporting events (Kwon, Ratneshwar, and Kim, 2016). Attempting to address potential methodological flaws, the authors enhanced their statistical analyses. Findings supported some of the original findings, including that brand sponsorship increases image congruence between sponsoring brands and sponsored sporting events. However, only mild support of the matchup hypothesis was found and there was no support of a moderating influence of image-based similarity on the extent of image congruence.
Another article in the same issue by Bellman, Wooley, and Varan (2016) applied facial-tracking technology in a conceptual replication of Kamins, Marks, and Skinner’s (1991) program-ad matching study. Although this research examined the original study’s program–ad matching effect on informational advertisements on cognitive recall, this replication varied because it utilized a mixed experimental design, different genres of television shows and a biometric process measure (computer-detected smiling). The replication both corroborated and extended the original study demonstrating how replications need not be limited to just the original results.
A third study included a hybrid attempt to empirically replicate the findings of Kees, et al (2006) who originally reported that more graphic pictorial cigarette warnings positively affect smoking cessation intentions and that evoked fear underlies this relationship (Davis and Burton, 2016). This replication study also differed. Specifically, the 2016 study used cigarette advertisements (and not packaging and warning statements), FDA mandated pictures (and not self-selected pictures) and different samples. Partial corroboration of Kees et al. (2006) was found including additional support that more graphic pictorials positively influence warning effectiveness perceptions and smoking cessation intentions and confirmation of evoked fear as the primary underlying mediating mechanism.
These are just three examples of studies that helped add knowledge and understanding to the advertising literature through “replications,” but not a 100% pure repeat of what had been done previously. In short, replication is about much more than just redoing a study that had been done before; rather, it has the vast potential of building and enhancing the advertising discipline.
Marla B. Royne (Stafford) is the Great Oaks Foundation Professor of Marketing at the University of Memphis, USA. She is past President of the American Academy of Advertising and past Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Advertising, the leading journal in the advertising discipline. Professor Royne Stafford can be contacted at email@example.com.
Bellman, S., B. Wooley, and D. Varan. “Program–Ad Matching and Television Ad Effectiveness: A Reinquiry Using Facial Tracking Software.” Journal of Advertising 45, 1 (2016): 72–77.
Davis, C., and S. Burton. “Understanding Graphic Pictorial Warnings in Advertising: A Replication and Extension.” Journal of Advertising 45, 1 (2016): 33–42.
Gwinner, K. P., and J. Eaton. “Building Brand Image through Event Sponsorship: The Role of Image Transfer.” Journal of Advertising 28, 4, (1999): 47–57.
Kamins, M. A., L. J. Marks, and D. Skinner. “Television Commercial Evaluation in the Context of Program-Induced Mood: Congruency versus Consistency Effects.” Journal of Advertising 20, 2 (1991): 1–14.
Kees, J., S. Burton, J. C. Andrews, and J. Kozup. “Tests of Graphic Visuals and Cigarette Package Warning Combinations: Implications for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.” Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 25, 2 (2006): 212–23.
Kwon, E., S. Ratneshwar, and E. Kim. “Brand Image Congruence Through Sponsorship of Sporting Events: A Reinquiry of Gwinner and Eaton (1999).” Journal of Advertising 45, 1 (2016): 130–38.
Nosek, B. A., J. R. Spies, and M. Motyl. “Scientific Utopia: II. Restructuring Incentives and Practices to Promote Truth over Publishability.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 7, 6 (2012): 615–31.
Park, J. H., O. Venger, D. Y. Park, and L. N. Reid. “Replication in Advertising Research, 1980-2012: A Longitudinal Analysis of Leading Advertising Journals.” Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising 36, (2015): 115–35.
Royne (Stafford), M. “Research and Publishing in the Journal of Advertising: Making Theory Relevant.” Journal of Advertising 45, 2 (2016): 269–73.