Cambria Press is pleased to announce that Marketplace Advocacy Campaigns: Generating Public Support for Business and Industry by Barbara M. Miller is now available.
Below is a transcript of the Q&A session with Professor Miller.
1. Why did you decide to write this book?
Originally from West Virginia, I have long been familiar with the Friends of Coal campaign sponsored by the West Virginia Coal Association. The FOC logo––on bumper stickers, billboards, and media––is prominent throughout the state. This campaign is what initially sparked my interest in this unique genre of advertising and public relations, designed not to sell products and services but to promote and protect entire industries.
The FOC campaign is a prime example of a marketplace advocacy campaign in that it promotes the benefits of an industry sector to society, in this case coal, while also attempting to quell public concerns about industry risks. More and more I began to see marketplace advocacy campaigns on a national level – from industry trade associations representing oil and natural gas, coal, and plastics, to very prominent companies promoting the benefits of their industry or products to society.
I decided to write Marketplace Advocacy Campaigns: Generating Public Support for Business and Industry because I wanted to learn more about the persuasive potential of marketplace advocacy. As these campaigns are becoming increasingly widespread, it’s important for audiences to understand if––and how––they can influence our perceptions of businesses and industries.
2. What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
From a very broad perspective, I hope readers take away an increased awareness of the extent of marketplace advocacy campaigns and begin to consider their potential for impacting the political process. Often after speaking with people about marketplace advocacy, they will comment several days later that they began to take note of these types of campaign advertisements––in television shows they watch and in magazines and newspapers they read. As demonstrated in the model validated in this book, these campaigns have the potential to build and shape the public’s agenda regarding business and industry matters.
It’s important for readers to consider the fact that these campaigns are likely designed to encourage both action and inaction among audiences. Persistent, positive messages emphasizing benefits of an industry to a community or society in general may in fact generate favorable attitudes toward an industry, in some contexts and among some individuals. Among a much larger number of audience members, however, campaigns may simply eclipse audience skepticism resulting in inaction in opposing industry activities. It is important to note that either outcome is ultimately beneficial to the advocated business or industry.
3. What other research do you believe is needed on this topic?
This book demonstrates the ways in which marketplace advocacy campaigns may generate public support for the advocated business or industry. Future research should consider what happens next – the influence of these campaigns on the political process. Most corporate and industry marketplace advocacy campaigns encourage political advocacy among audiences through their online efforts. Within several years of the American Plastics Council’s “Plastic Make it Possible℠” campaign, for example, the number of bills proposed in state legislatures with potentially negative impacts for the plastics industry was cut in half; meanwhile, plastic bags became a top choice for grocery stores. A decade later, the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council, the sponsor of “Plastic Make it Possible℠” campaign, continues to advocate for plastic grocery bags and opposes proposed local and state bans of plastic bags in supermarkets, drug stores, and convenience stores. Future research should consider the likelihood for specific individual behaviors in response to marketplace advocacy.
Other questions are also important to consider, such as the role of marketplace advocacy in times of limited trust or crisis. Considering marketplace advocacy campaigns are often initiated to build a “reservoir of credibility” to weather future criticism, can they also be an effective means of attenuating negative public response following a crisis? Or, might prior marketplace advocacy efforts have the opposite effect, magnifying negative public response when the crisis indicates inconsistency between its marketplace advocacy positioning as a safe and responsible organization?
Other topics include the function of marketplace advocacy in shaping U.S. and international discourses relative to energy and the environment and the relevance of the model validated in this study to other advocacy campaigns.
Despite the proliferation of marketplace advocacy campaigns, there has been little professional or academic research published evaluating the potential outcomes of this form of communication on audiences. Ostensibly the last book devoted to advocacy advertising was published in 1977. This unprecedented study is therefore a crucial reference for esearchers in the areas of corporate social responsibility, environmental advocacy, issue advertising, and public opinion. This book is also appropriate for advanced advertising and public opinion classes.
Recommend this book to your librarian today! They can order it directly from Cambria Press or they can order through their preferred academic book wholesaler (Cambria Press is on the approval list of premier wholesalers like YBP).
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