Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Batang Ai

No. This has nothing to do with politics. Its to do with my research, on emotional quotient and advertising. Saw this in the local papers and decided that this is a wonderful opportunity for my type of research. So immediately wrote a proposal for a small grant and sent it out, and waiting for the result. In the meantime, got two of my students to go over to Batang Ai to collect material (photos) and to try to see if they can get some data. They told me there was a new tar road, but not the whole way to Batang Ai. They went to the police station, villages, polling stations. It was interesting experience for them, where people ask them to leave even though they say they are students, and the opposite where when people found out they were students... they were well cared for. Some villages / long house were clearly of a particular party while many were mixed (by the posters). They managed to get some photos for me to do more research (Iban language banners, mixed language banners), collect some data and also managed to meet the winning candidate.Now, hopefully I will get the grant and be able to collect sufficient data to run meaningful analysis and publish my findings. We realized that we need more people to go to the various villages and those that can speak Iban very well. Cross my fingers and hope to get the grant.

My Research Proposal:
This project will apply marketing methodology of emotional quotient and behavioral analysis to investigate the effects of selected print advertisements used by Barisan Nasional in the 2009 by-elections at Batang Ai. The study intends to note the effects of such adverts on Barisan National (BN) stalwarts, Opposition stalwarts, and those undecided, that is correlated with the effect of emotions and uncertainty / believability.
It is noted that Prospect Theory and the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) has been used in order to understand and describe the emotional effects of advertisements. One of the difficulties encountered when trying to understand consumer reactions to external market sources of information, is that this information will be viewed with varying degrees of ambiguity or uncertainty. Prospect theory has shown that assumptions of rationality do not accurately reflect consumers' behavior in the face of uncertainty (Kahneman & Tversky 1979). This is certainly true with respect to political adverts. The ELM states that consumers make decisions based on cognition or peripheral attributes. Persuasion based on peripheral decision is based on emotive cues without deep processing of information (Petty, Caccioppo, Schumann, 1983). This is especially true when the information source is seen as uncertain and ambiguous.The research will look into the perception of voters at Batang Ai, dividing respondents into Barisan National stalwarts, the Opposition stalwarts and the undecided. The advertisements will be tested for recognition among these respondents. Other factors looked into are attitude towards the ad, affect towards the ad, and decision making. This will be analyzed using the Emotional Quotient Scale (Wells, 1964a) Believability (Beltramini, 1982) and Purchase Decision Involvement will be used to determine the impact of the adverts on these reactions. The research sets out to investigate the effectiveness of the political advertising carried out in the 2009 Batang Ai By Election in Malaysia.
Petty, Caacioppo, and Schumann (1983) described decision making on the basis of cognition and peripheral modes. Peripheral decision making is based on emotions and short-lived. It is the contention of this research that the cues used are based on emotion cues (future of the children, prosperity, harmony, tension, and with limited information) that results in a peripheral decision making context. An analysis of the emotional quotient of the adverts will be done. We will use the Emotional Quotient Scale (Wells, 1964a) and Reaction Profile Scale (Wells, 1964b) to test the emotional quotient of the advertisement. At the same time we would like to determine affect towards the advertisements. This will be done using the ‘Feelings towards the ad scale’ (Edell and Burke, 1987) to determine the emotional impact of the adverts.
Information provided in the advertisements is ambiguous or uncertain. Prospect theory has shown that assumptions of rationality do not accurately reflect consumers' behavior in the face of uncertainty (Kahneman & Tversky 1979). Thus, consumers will make irrational choices due to uncertainty and ambiguity of information provided. Consumers also find it too cognitively taxing to determine the truth in advertisements. The above discussion boils down to the question as to whether the adverts were believable. The adverts will be analyzed on its believability, incorporating Beltramini (1982) advertising believability scale.
The study will note impressions towards the ads, recognition, affect towards the ad, attitude towards the advert, and decision making under normal circumstance and when the ad is considered offensive. The end effect of any advertisement is whether it effected any behavior change. A behavioral test will be incorporated to note whether any behavioral effects occurred due to the adverts.

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