Advertising and Social Media

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Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

cognitive psychology

Advertising and social media are ubiquitous and powerful forces that seduce us into wanting, seeking, and buying desired—and sometimes even unneeded—products and services, donating to charitable causes, and for better or worse, changing our lifestyle. What psychological processes are responsible for the effectiveness of advertising? Which advertising messages are received and why? Consumers and firms buy and sell products and services without necessarily understanding the reasons. This program explains how attention works, how consumers acquire and process information, how they can use their attention to focus on relevant information, and how they make choices.

Each year, companies commit considerable resources to advertising and social media campaigns. The digital revolution and rise of the internet have transformed the way we live and do business, making today’s business environment more competitive. Businesses can tap the power of social media to increase sales, cut marketing costs, and reach consumers directly. The art of selling has become more scientific. This program explores how companies use behavioral insights to attempt to connect products and services with people.

Consumers form attitudes toward brands that can affect purchase decisions. Firms use persuasion and other psychological techniques to change preexisting attitudes and beliefs and influence consumer behavior. Frequently, consumers’ brand preferences develop from attitudes about advertisements. How do advertising and social media cause consumer behavior to change? Because consumers generally try to avoid exposure to advertisements, firms use humor and other techniques to attract consumers’ attention. This program explores how advertising and social media affect memory and influence buying behavior.

One can gain different perspectives on society from critically examining themes in advertisements. For example, advertising may be based on a product’s benefits or appeal more to materialism. Has our culture become one of consumption for its own sake? If so, what does that say about our society? In addition, as ads become more interactive, privacy concerns will increase. Therefore, certain advertising and aspects of social media may result in negative outcomes, some with long-term consequences.

Social media can be used to empower participants, rather than make them passive receivers of information. Companies can use social media to listen to their customers and other stakeholders via more conversational forms of corporate communication, involving a broader range of stakeholders in dialogues, and patiently building relationships with consumers. This program explores how advertising and social media may be used to more effectively and ethically influence consumers and persuade them to change their buying behavior.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: business, management, leadership studies, economics, communication, and psychology.

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia