Journal of Advertising “COVID-19 Pop-Up Section” Published

I am so happy to finally see this pop-up section in print! The process of co-editing this issue of Journal of Advertising began in Summer 2020 and is now available online here:

It was a learning experience to put together an issue like this and I am thankful for my co-editor, Dr. Hope Jensen Schau, for showing me the ropes. Out of 50 submissions, we accepted 8 excellent manuscripts that showcase the impact that COVID-19 has made on the advertising industry and consumer behavior. Hope and I wrote the introduction that speaks to the overall themes showcased in the issue.

Rituals and Celebrations

This semester I taught a PhD methods course to a small group of students in my department – the course is the second in a series and it focuses on learning about the popular methods in advertising research as well as how to apply those methods to answer their specific research questions. We also talk a lot about how to manage an academic career – How do you build a research track? How do you handle rejection from journals? What is this whole peer review thing? How do you get tenure? What does service mean? How do I teach and work on research at the same time? Do you really get the Summer off? etc. etc.

In answering those questions this term, I found myself thinking about the rituals I have created over the years to get me through the ups and downs of trying to publish (and not perish!). One of my favorites is buying myself a hand-carved gemstone fetish at the end of each academic year – not to celebrate a specific publication or award but simply to mark the time. I started doing this when I completed my doctorate in 2009 and have done it each year since so I now have a small army of beautifully carved animals watching over me in my office.

The collection started with a serpent made out of serpentine – snakes symbolize rebirth so it felt right as I moved from being a student to a professor. Each year I have tried to tie in a theme – I have a bear for a year that I felt especially strong, a horned frog for the year I was awarded tenure at TCU, a lucky rabbit for the year I got a sabbatical and so on. This year I got a badger because, let’s be honest, it has been a hell of a year in Zoom land!

Shelf filled with fetish animals and framed photos.

Office shelf with fetishes (L to R: Turtle, Lizard, Buffalo, Horned Frog, Bear, Rabbit, Fox, Otter, Serpent, Horned Frog, Rattlesnake, Badger).

So, why is this important?  Because, to be in this career you need to have things that celebrate the small wins to get you through so that you can make it to the big wins, too! An academic mentor of mine told me long ago to celebrate everything – all of those little steps along the way that get you to where you need to be – and not to hold out for the big career changing moments (because they are so few!). When rejections and disappointing outcomes happen, it sure is nice to have my little animal army to remind me that good things are on the horizon even if it simply means making it through the year.

A heart-felt congratulations to all of the students who graduated this semester as well as the faculty that made it through! This includes my first doctoral advisee, Emily Chadraba, who completed her doctorate and is now Dr. Chadraba. I hope all of my students who are embarking on new adventures will make it a ritual to come back to UT to tell me about their amazing accomplishments!

Laura and Emily at UT graduation in academic regalia

Drs. Bright and Chadraba at Littlefield House, UT Austin Campus

Another new publication!

Two accepts in a week – that RARELY happens :). Excited to see this one come out as well – this was a piece that I worked on with my PhD mentor (Dr. Matthew Eastin) and one of our UT PhD students who recently graduated (Dr. Jung Ah Lee). Available online through Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

Title: Fear of Missing Out and Consumer Happiness on Instagram: A Serial Mediation of Social Media Influencer-Related Activities

Abstract: Mounting research shows negative psychological effects for social media and recognizes fear of missing out (FoMO) as a key driver of social media use. This article focuses on social media influencers (SMIs) and investigates potentially positive forms of usage on psychological well-being (i.e., happiness), including how FoMO impacts consumer response to SMIs. A serial mediation model using survey data (N?=?604) indicates SMI-related activities are positively associated with a consumer’s happiness. Furthermore, SMI-related activities jointly and positively mediate the relationship between FoMO and happiness. Individuals higher in FoMO more frequently visited SMIs’ account profiles leading to more frequent purchasing of products recommended by SMIs, which in turn positively influenced happiness. Implications of the findings are discussed with suggestions for future research.

New Publication Alert

I am excited to announce that the latest paper from my research team at UT has been published – this was a joint effort between Kristen Sussman (PhD student), Gary Wilcox (Professor), and myself. The research took a mixed methods approach by combining text analysis with mobile polling data from See title and abstract below – published in the Journal of Digital and Social Media Marketing.

Title: Facebook, trust and privacy in an election year: Balancing politics and advertising

Abstract: Prior to the US 2020 presidential election, both Twitter and Google announced changes to their political advertising policies. This article explores trust and privacy issues relating to social media while evaluating current public opinion regarding political advertising on Facebook, which unlike Twitter and Google, has remained steadfast in its support for political advertising. The study uses a textual analysis of Twitter data collected from conversations in October 2019 to provide a snapshot of public rhetoric at this point in time. Results from the text analysis identify trends around the upcoming election, political advertising, Russia and Trump. Topics are further investigated using an online survey panel of 300 participants. ANOVA results indicate that privacy concerns are a key driver of desire to remove political advertising. The results suggest that user perception of Facebook advertising is decreasing as a result of privacy concerns related to trust in the platform. Political advertisers should therefore reevaluate their communication strategy with regard to Facebook advertising.

Keywords: Facebook; misinformation; online advertising; online trust; political advertising; privacy; public opinion

Next we will be working on a text analysis regarding COVID-19 vaccine hesitation – more coming soon.

Special Section of Journal of Advertising on “COVID-19 & Advertising”

I am excited to announce that I will be co-editing a special section of the Journal of Advertising around the theme of “COVID-19 and Advertising”. We are focusing on “research briefs” as the type of submission for this section as the deadline is fast approaching – November 15, 2020. Please see the call details below or visit the JA website:


The COVID-19 global pandemic has taken a toll on society through the disruption of economies, governments, businesses, and consumers. Marketing and advertising have decreased in both volume and budgets with the majority of advertisers reducing or eliminating advertising spending in the short-term (IAB 2020). The content of advertising has shifted as well toward health, community, and helping themes. Although there are many practical examples and anecdotes of how brands are shifting to meet consumer needs, there is a tremendous need for research to understand and guide thinking on how brands can survive the pandemic and inspire consumers while helping the world through the COVID-19 crisis – a primary aim of our Pop-Up Special Section on Advertising and COVID-19.

In this Pop-Up Special Section, we seek high-quality, cutting-edge research in the form of Research Notes (6,000 words maximum) that explore how advertising has been impacted by the pandemic. Topics related to macro effects of the pandemic on the industry or consumers (Graham and Frankenberger 2001) are appropriate. Of particular interest is research that examines the role advertising can play in helping society and industry cope and recover, such as how advertising can help persuade consumers to comply with desirable health behaviors (Sundar, Kardes, and Wright 2015), CSR or cause-related advertising initiatives (Coleman et al. 2020), or the role of advertising in public policy designed to promote/protect public health (Kees and Andrews 2019).

Research Notes may be empirical, conceptual, or methodological, and may use quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies. While we offer some potential research questions below as a prompt, it is not an exhaustive list.


  • How can advertising be used to promote socially desirable/responsible behaviors (e.g., social distancing) during a global public health crisis?
  • How do consumers perceive and process different types of advertising during a health pandemic? Can prosocial advertising boost the brand? Can traditional competitive advertising be perceived as uncaring or detached and damage the brand?
  • What is the role of advertising in promoting consumer welfare during the pandemic? What types of messages are most effective to encourage behavioral change and/or compliance with laws/orders to produce consumer well-being? Framing effects?
  • What is advertising’s role in discouraging bad consumer behavior such as panic buying during a pandemic?
  • What role does advertising play in dissemination of credible information or misinformation transmitted over broadcast, print, digital and/or social media? What drives consumer perceptions of trust of the advertising message during a public health crisis (e.g., source credibility)?
  • What advertising tactics and strategies are likely to persist after COVID-19?
  • How do advertising messages change during the course of the pandemic and what impact do that have on consumption?
  • How will the role of advertising agencies change as the result of the pandemic? What strategies will they need to employ to weather the financial impact?


Please follow submission and format guidelines for the Journal of Advertising found on their website.

For the Pop-up Special Section, we invite Research Notes not to exceed 6,000 words maximum (including references, tables, figures, and appendices).

The submission deadline for the Pop-Up Special Section is November 15, 2020.

Submit manuscripts through ScholarOne, at, during November 1-15, 2020. Be sure to select “SPECIAL SECTION: Advertising and COVID-19.” Also note that:
– All articles will undergo blind peer review by at least two reviewers.
– Authors will be notified no later than December 2020 on the preliminary decision over their manuscript for the next round of review.

The anticipated date for publication of the Special Section is June/July 2021.

Any questions about the Pop-Up Special Section can be sent to the guest editors: Hope Jensen Schau and Laura F. Bright, at


  • Coleman, Joshua T., Royne-Stafford, Marla B., and Kathrynn R. Pounders (2020), “Pride, Guilt, and Self-Regulation in Cause-Related Marketing Advertisements,” Journal of Advertising, 49(1), 34–60.
  • Graham, Roger C. and Kristina D. Frankenberger (2011), “The Earnings Effects of Marketing Communication Expenditures During Recessions,” Journal of Advertising, 40(2), 5-24.
  • Interactive Advertising Bureau (2020), “Impacts of COVID-19 on Ad Revenue & Ad Spend,”
  • Sundar, Aparna, Frank R. Kardes, and Scott A. Wright (2015), “The Influence of Repetitive Health Messages and Sensitivity to Fluency on the Truth Effect in Advertising,” Journal of Advertising, 44(4), 375–87.
  • Kees, Jeremy and J. Craig Andrews (2019), “Research Issues and Needs at the Intersection of Advertising and Public Policy,” Journal of Advertising, 48(1), 126-135.