TV Commercial Variety vs. Cost of Advertising Part 1

Before I began collecting data on the methods that TV commercials use to appeal to viewers, I first had to decide how to categorize the types of consumer appeal such that differences between samples could be easily singled out and identified.  I eventually decided on a modification of the classic ‘logos, pathos, ethos’ categories, which classify persuasive techniques based on their appeal to logic, emotion, and trust respectively.  My initial thinking was to use those categories, and additionally a humor category, and decide which approach was intended by the advertising company to be the strongest; that strategy, however, was far too subjective to be trusted to reveal any significant differences between samples.  Therefore, I decided to modify the categories and create a hierarchy:

  1. Celebrity appearance
  2. Logical/numerical appeal
  3. Humor
  4. Evocation of emotion

If there was a celebrity in a commercial, that commercial was automatically recorded in that category.  This continued down the list with the same logic until the commercial was sorted.  This research was targeting differences in commercial approach based on the cost of advertising, so I allowed for the only category that has a significant cost barrier for the advertising company, celebrity appearances, to be the most inclusive.

In hindsight, I would have collapsed categories 3 and 4 into a single group, but since my primary focus was on the percentage of commercials that fell into category 1, I do not find this flaw in the methodology to be harmful.  I would also consider a different approach in the case of further research where a commercial could count towards multiple categories to produce more comprehensive data, especially if the relationship being explored would not be influenced by the cost of advertising.

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