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Research Proposal
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Statement Of The Problem: Television, Radio, And Social Media (Research Proposal Sample)


TV commercial memory is affected more by previously viewed PROGRAMMING of the violent and sexually explicit PROGRAMMING as compared to neutral PROGRAMMING.


Research Proposal
Research Proposal
Every seller hopes to boost sales by advertising their products on different media platforms including television, radio, and social media. However, the type of content aired on this platforms and especially TV profoundly impacts the likelihood of customers to purchase products. In this light, sex and violence have been realized to impair the memory of viewers, and as a result, they experience difficulty in encoding and retrieving the content on the advertisement. On the other hand, those that watch neutral content can easily retrieve the information and are more likely to purchase the products. The research will look into how violent, and sexually explicit programming affects TV commercial memory as compared to neutral programming.
Statement of the Problem
The study is set to prove the impact of sex and violence on the ability to retrieve information on the embedded advertisements. Often, it is thought that violence and sex increase sales because a larger population is likely to watch this particular content. However, this is not the case because when a follow up is conducted on the viewers and they are asked about the description of the ads, a good number of them hardly recall what they saw. The reason is that, a human brain experiences difficulty in encoding unrelated information. For instance, if the program was on sex or violence then an ad on detergent or healthy living is shown, the viewers are unlikely to concentrate on the ad as they wait for it to end for them to go on with the program. As such, it is clear that sex and violent content do not really sell and instead of the viewers thinking of the ad that was shown, their thoughts are primarily on the sex and violent programs they watched. It is, therefore, imperative for sellers to consider this fact and work on placing their ads more on neutral content because this promotes concentration on the ad that is being advertised.
Review of Literature
A literature review of different sources was conducted, and several authors have almost similar thoughts on the impact of violence and sexual content on the viewers' memory and their inability to recall previous information on ads.
Cass (2017) uses an example of Fuguet's "Santiago" to prove that memory is indeed displaced based on the content of the fiction. The primary themes in the program are loneliness, substance abuse, and characters finding themselves in stressful relationships (Cass, 2017). As such the themes are likely to occupy the attention of the viewers and any ad or commercial embedded in the fiction may not be retrieved quickly. More so, Bushman (2007) attempted to find out whether there was an impact on remembering ads embedded in sexual, violent or neutral programs. A total of 324 students were used in the meta-analysis and for each of the programs, two ads ran after every twenty minutes of viewing. The programs went for forty-five minutes, and recall tests were conducted two days later. Bushman (2007) found out that that the commercials embedded in neutral programs were remembered easily than those in sexual programs. Both genders' memories were equally impaired, and thus, advertisers should limit the number of ads they insert in violent and sex programs if viewers are to remember the commercials.
Violent programs and those with sexual content do not market the products. Bushman (2005) sought to prove his point by conducting a study where he used people who were aged between 18 and 54 as they are the principal target for advertisers. The participants were divided into three groups and presented with violent, sexual and neutral programs to watch. Bushman (2005) later discovered that those who watched violent and sexual content could hardly recall the embedded memory advertisements compared to the group which was presented with the non-sexual programs. It was therefore concluded that memory on commercials is impaired in violent movies.
Every advertiser hopes to increase the purchase of their products, and the only way to do this is through advertising. Embedding ads in a program is one way that promoters do this, and they target especially those with sexual and violent content. However, this approach is not practical as most viewers do not pay attention to the commercials. Bushman and Bonacci (2002) decided to conduct a study of 324 participants and made them watch neutral, violent and sex programs. Nine ads were inserted in each of the programs, and the participants were made to recall the ads they had seen. Those who had watched neutral programs recalled the brands that had been advertised whereas those who watched sex programs could not remember the commercials. Bushman and Bonacci (2002) confirmed that people have difficulty in encoding unrelated concepts and that is why the ads that advertised detergents or food could not be remembered well because it did not relate with the sexual or the violent content.
Sex and violence have been linked to aggression among children and teenagers. Anderson and Bushman (2001) assert that children tend to engage in violent video games and movies or programs with sexual content without their parents' consent. As a result, children are prompted to participate in the activities they watch in these programs explaining the rise of violent traits among many adolescents today (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). While watching these programs, children will pay less attention to any ads that pop up in the program as the sexual and the violent content already occupies their minds. Some of the violent attributes that confirm that the televised program leads to aggression in children include drug and substance abuse, sexual encounters and robbery (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). After watching these programs, children can hardly remember any embedded ad but will narrate the program explicitly.
According to Bushman & Phillips (2001), most programs shown on the TV are violent, but this does not hinder advertiser from embedding their ads into the programs. Bushman & Phillips (2001) assert that an effective advertisement is that which people can remember and can retrieve information when asked. To reinforce their stand, Bushman & Phillips (2001) performed a meta-analysis consisting of 1700 participants and were presented with violent programs to watch. The primary objective of Bushman & Phillips (2001) was to confirm that these programs indeed impair memory on commercials and that this may not be the best platform for advertisers to market their good and services.
Additionally, Furnham and Mainaud (2011) posit that the TV programs with sexual content diminish the memory of commercials. Furnham and Mainaud (2011) performed a study among 82 French individuals who were between 18 and 54 years. This is a convenient age group because they have been identified as active viewers. Sexual and nonsexual programs were presented to them, and after every fifteen minutes of viewing, an ad was aired for one minute. The total number of ads was six where three had sexual content whereas the other three were neutral (Furnham & Mainaud, 2011). Immediately after viewing, the subjects were asked to recall the ads, and it was noted that the sexual commercials were recalled better compared to the nonsexual advertisements. This confirmed that sexual content in programs had a significant impact on people's capacity to remember the ads they watched.
Sex boosts sales, and this has been confirmed by a study performed by King, McClelland & Furnham (2015). The participants involved were presented with both the sexual and nonsexual commercials that were embedded in both sexual and nonsexual programs. This research resembles one performed by Leka, McClelland & Furnham (2013) where the objective in both instances was to find out memory impairment on sexual and nonsexual ads. The researchers discovered that the erotic ads embedded in the sexual programs could be recalled quickly and the products advertised were purchased. From the memory tests conducted on the participants that watched the sexual ads, it was noted that they could remember the brand and even give a full description of the products.
Leka, McClelland and Furnham (2013) conducted a study where the grouped participants grouped into two. One team was presented with sexual content whereas the other one watched nonsexual programs. After watching, the participants were astonished by the results where it was assumed that sexual ads would be recalled more compared to nonsexual ads. In the sexual programs, the nonsexual commercials could not be remembered easily because of the impaired memory. It was also evident that the group watching these programs was indulged more on the sexual content than the nonsexual ads. The sexual ads in the sexual programs could be recalled more because the two materials related more. Consequently, it was noted that women could remember both the non-sexual and the sexual commercials compared to men who would only recall the sexual ads.
Another study by Lull & Bushman (2015) confirms that memory on TV ads is impaired upon viewing violent content. This goes against the assumption that sex and violence sell. Since the sex and violent content call for the use of cognitive resources compared to nonsexual movies, there are high chances that the individual will not recall the embedded messages in the ads. Similarly, Lull & Bushman (2015) conducted a meta-analysis consisting of 8,489 participants, and they were subjected to 53 experiments. They were provided with both violent and neutral content where the researchers noted that the participants who watched neutral content were able to remember the ads more compared to those that watched violent content. Therefore, the researchers concluded that the embedded ads did not boost sale as they altered people’s ability to retrie...
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