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Television commercials and agenda-setting: the effects of environmental commercials

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Jaw, J.J. (main author / School of Mass Communications, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX)
Conference paper
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois Box: 90
Subject Term:
environment, public attitude, television
James F. Evans Collection, Mimeographed, 1992. 19 p. Paper presented at 1992 Convention of the Mass Communication and Society Division, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication; Montreal, Canada, The present experimental study examined television environmental commercials' agenda-setting effects. It was hypothesized that environmental commercials will have agenda-setting effects on the audience. However, the obtrusiveness and concreteness of the issue under study will influence the strength of the effects. Three television commercials with different levels of obtrusiveness and concreteness were selected and edited into regular television programs' commercial breaks. One experimental and two control groups were used and comparisons about their perceived importance of these environmental issues mentioned in these commercials were made among these three groups. The results did support the hypothesis; the proposed model suggests that the interactions between the obtrusiveness and concreteness of the issuer under study does influence the strength of the commercials' agenda-setting effects. The strongest agenda-setting effects are found when the issue is unobtrusive and concrete. When the issue is strong on either obtrusiveness or abstractness, no agenda-setting effects will be produced. However, when an obtrusive issue is under study, the abstractness of the issue will increase its agenda-setting effects and vice versa. The explanation seems to be that the abstractness of an obtrusiveness issue will disguise the nature (obtrusiveness) of this issue, so the audience's agenda will be affected more easily than an obtrusive and concrete issue. (original).