Enjoyment of Advergames and Brand Attitudes:
The Impact of Thematic Relevance 

Kevin Wise, Paul D. Bolls, Hyo Kim, Arun Venkataraman, Ryan Meyer

Missouri School of Journalism


Campaigns increasingly implement advergames to engage consumers with a brand through interactive, entertaining media content. However, little research tests the effects of specific features of advergames on desired advertising outcomes. This article reports the results of an experiment designed to examine how variation in the thematic connection between the game associated with an advergame and the brand affects the relationship between attitude toward the game (equated with attitude toward the ad) and attitude toward the brand. The analysis reveals a stronger positive relationship between attitude toward the advergame and attitude toward the brand when participants play games with a high thematic connection to the brand’s product. Therefore, designing advergames that relate thematically to the product of the sponsoring brand should increase the likelihood of positive conditioning of brand attitudes evoked by playing an advergame.

Keywords: Advergames, Brand Attitude, and Relevance.


The game for delivering a brand’s message to a desired target audience has changed. Advertisers previously played tag with consumers, trying to chase them down and reach them by saturating traditional media channels with traditional spot advertising. Yet ad clutter, negative attitudes toward traditional advertising, and a media landscape filled with a mind-boggling number of media options for advertisers has shifted the way the game is played. As a result, advertisers have begun engaging consumers in a game of hide-and-seek by imbedding brand messages in entertainment-oriented media content. This growing advertising strategy, known as branded entertainment, involves integrating elements of brand communication into content that consumers seek out for entertainment purposes. According to a recent report by PQ Media Research, spending on branded entertainment efforts will surpass $25 billion in 2008 (Business Wire 2008).

The Advergame

One form of branded entertainment is the advergame, a videogame designed around a brand. Advergame executions range from simply repurposing an existing, well-known game (e.g., shooting baskets) to feature the brand in the gaming environment to creating more elaborate, custom-built games that involve detailed virtual experiences with the brand’s product (Wallace and Robbins 2006). Advergaming constitutes part of the smallest but fastest growing segment of branded entertainment marketing efforts. The tremendous growth in the number of brands that include advergames as part of their advertising strategy has been attributed to a desire to engage youth and young adults who are increasingly choosing online, interactive media over traditional media (Business Wire 2008).

The practice of placing some form of brand communication in entertainment media, including console or online games, is not new. Product placement agreements between advertisers and content providers have been commonplace for decades. For example, the placement of products in movies caught public attention in the 1980s when Reese’s Pieces appeared in the movie ET and Pepsi appeared in Back to the Future. Since that time, the amount and prominence of product placement in movies, television programs, and videogames has significantly increased (La Ferle and Edwards 2006). Product placement agreements allow advertisers to embed a brand message in content produced by other media companies. Advergaming in turn represents a departure from this traditional form of product placement.

According to several scholars, an advergame represents a unique form of branded entertainment because, in contrast to placements purchased in other forms of gaming, the game incorporated as part of an advergaming execution is produced specifically for the sponsoring brand, in essence making the game itself the brand message (Chen and Ringel 2001; Deal 2005). For example, an Orbitz advergame that has players race through an airport provides a distinct form of branded entertainment based on an Orbitz billboard that appears at the Daytona 500 race. The opportunity to create entertaining content in an advertisement for the brand establishes advergaming as a form of branded entertainment that in essence provides a hybrid form of brand messaging. Advergames merge the level of advertiser control found in traditional advertising with the entertainment communication context associated with product placement. Because of their unique attributes, advergames hold tremendous potential for delivering a brand’s message in an engaging manner at a fraction of the cost of television advertising (Bertrim 2005). Campaign planners also appear to recognize this value; the technology research firm Yankee Group (2006) predicts that advergames will generate nearly $260 million in revenues by 2010. Wallace and Robbins (2006) also identify 27 interactive agencies and game developers that specialize in the production of advergames for clients.

Thus, advergaming provides a growing and unique form of branded entertainment worthy of the attention of advertising scholars. The significant potential of advergaming as a new form of interactive advertising suggests proprietary research exists that evaluates the effectiveness of advergames, yet as Winkler and Buckner (2006) note, little academic research provides the potential to offer theoretically grounded insights into the impact of specific features of advergames on desired communication effects.

A growing number of scholars are turning their attention toward advergames, but most studies involve content analyses (Moore 2006), examine the effects of advergames on children (Mallinckrodt and Mizerski 2007), or consider social policy ramifications (Villafranco and Zeltzer 2006). Furthermore, most research into in-game advertising focuses on traditional product placements in online and console games rather than advergames (Winkler and Buckner 2006).

More research that examines how specific features of advergames affect desired advertising outcomes can reveal theoretically grounded relationships between advergame features and communication effects, as well as provide practical insights for agencies and their clients. As noted by McCarty (2004), in-depth knowledge of the effects of product placement in traditional media did not exist until scholars began systematically examining specific attributes of different product placement executions; thus, research on advergames should follow a similar direction. This study helps fill the existing research gap regarding the effects of specific features of advergames. The reported experiment examines how the thematic connection between the game users play and the brand that appears in the advergame influences the relationship between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand.

If advergames represent a more direct form of brand advertising than other forms of branded entertainment, it makes sense to conceptualize attitude toward the game as a type of attitude toward the ad, a concept that has been studied extensively by advertising scholars (for a review, see Brown and Stayman 1992). Most scholarly interest in attitude toward the ad results from its theorized relationship with attitude toward the brand (Muehling and McCann 1993). This study examines possible variations in a well-established relationship, namely, variations in the strength of the relationship between attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand, which has practical and theoretical importance for advertising professionals and scholars. Established models of advertising effectiveness include the relationship between attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand (e.g., MacKenzie and Lutz 1989; Muehling, Laczniak, and Stoltman 1991), but scholars have not specified production features of interactive forms of advertising that might moderate the relationship between attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand. Such knowledge could be used to specify models of interactive advertising effectiveness. Furthermore, if advertising professionals have insight into the specific production features that either enhance or weaken this relationship, they could design interactive ads for clients more strategically. One such production feature is the thematic connection between an advergame and the brand it represents.

Thematic Relevance

A limited body of research addresses the effect of congruency or connection between entertaining content and an embedded brand in product placement. Russell (2002) finds a positive connection between the plot of a television program and the modality of product placement on brand evaluations. Lee and Faber (2007) also propose that for product placement in games, congruity should represent the degree to which the product category of a brand relates to the content of the game. They examine the impact of congruity between embedded brands and game content on memory and find better recall for highly incongruent brands. Their study thus offers a rigorous example of research into product placement in games, including the presentation of nine different fictional brands in a car racing game. In contrast, an advergame contains only one brand, so participants do not have to process and respond to different brands. This processing difference could give users more opportunity to elaborate cognitively on the connection between the game and the brand, which in turn could lead to a different pattern of effects for congruency or thematic connections between the game and brand on memory or attitudinal measures.

This study represents an initial step toward examining this possibility, because it investigates how the thematic connection between an advergame and the brand affects attitudinal responses. A thematic connection between the game and brand can be manipulated easily through the structure of the game. If this feature leads to variation in the strength of the relationship between attitude toward the advergame and attitude toward the brand, professionals and scholars will gain deeper insights into the effects of one of the newest and fastest growing forms of interactive advertising.

Another critical issue to consider in studying advergames is how brand communication effects evoked by an advergame might compare to the effects observed for product placement in movies, television, and other forms of gaming. Previous research on branded entertainment investigates the impact of various features of product placement on brand recall (d’Astous and Chartier 2000; Gupta and Lord 1998; Russell 2002; Sabherwal, Pokrywczynski, and Griffin 1994). This line of research reveals that modality (visual/verbal), prominence of the placement, and congruence between the brand and media content have distinct effects on brand recall.

Researchers also have proposed that the effects of product placement in movies and television programs could differ somewhat from those found for games because of the interactive nature of games (Nicovich 2005). The mental and motor activities involved in playing a game differ from the passive nature of viewing television programs and movies; specifically, viewing a movie does not require a division of attention to the same degree as does playing a game.

Brand placements in games thus might not be as memorable, because playing the game is the primary focus of attention and processing the presence of brands within the game is secondary, performed only with spare cognitive resources that are not being used by the primary task (Grigorovici and Constantin 2004). Previous research finds low levels of brand recall for product placements in video games (Chaney, Lin, and Chaney 2004), yet research into advergames specifically reveals relatively high levels of recall (Winkler and Buckner 2006). This difference in memory effects between online or console games and advergames represents one of the potentially interesting differences for distinct branded entertainment executions.

The mental activity demanded by television programs, movies, online or console games, and advergames probably varies, which implies the potential for significant differences in the effects of branded entertainment executions in these media channels. To identify the similarities and differences in the effects of specific forms of branded entertainment, more studies must consider the effects of specific features of branded execution, including thematic connection, on desired outcomes, such as positive attitude toward the brand.

The connection between a brand and the content in which a brand message is embedded has positive effects on persuasion. In a study of online sponsorship, Rodgers (2003) finds that a strong linkage in the relevance of a sponsored Web site with the sponsoring brand enhances the persuasive impact of sponsorship. Shamadasani, Stanaland, and Tan (2001) also find more positive attitudes toward the ad, positive attitudes toward the brand, and higher purchase intentions in response to banner ads placed on product-relevant Web sites. Research on product placement in television also shows that product placements related to the plot of a television program elicit more favorable brand attitudes than do unrelated placements (Russell 2002). The positive effects of connections between the brand and content on attitudes should extend to advergames, but no empirical evidence supports this assumption. Furthermore, previous research has not explored how the thematic connection may influence the relationship between specific attitudes. This study therefore examines the relationship between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand.

Lutz, MacKenzie, and Belch (1983) systematically describe the relationship between attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand. Their relationship model with the most support uses dual mediation, through which attitude toward the ad has both a direct relationship with attitude toward the brand and an indirect relationship through brand cognitions (Brown and Stayman 1992; Gardner 1985; Homer 1990; Lutz, MacKenzie, and Belch 1983). Petty and Cacioppo’s (1986) elaboration likelihood model of persuasion (ELM) provides the theoretical foundation for the relationship between attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand; their direct relationship may result from message processing that occurs in the peripheral route of the ELM (Miniard, Bhatla, and Rose 1990). Attitude toward the ad may affect processing in the central ELM route by influencing brand cognitions, which in turn affect attitude toward the brand (Miniard, Bhatla, and Rose 1990).

Previous research further explicates the relationship between attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand in terms of general paths. However, no extensive research identifies specific message features that may influence relationship strength. Advergaming presents a unique opportunity for researchers to study variation in the strength of the relationship between attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand in the context of branded entertainment, because it is easy to manipulate the game features and then measure any changes in attitudes. This study therefore focuses on how the thematic connection between the brand and the game influences this relationship.

Similar to Lee and Faber’s (2007) notion of congruency, thematic connection refers to the conceptual match between the brand’s product and game content. For example, higher thematic connection marks an advergame for Nike running shoes that has players engage in a virtual footrace compared with a Nike running shoes advergame that features a gun shooting range game. In turn, how might the thematic connection between an advergame and the brand lead to variation in the strength of the relationship between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand?

Previous research suggests that positive attitudes evoked by exposure to an ad translate into positive attitudes toward the brand through conditioning procedures (Allen and Janiszewski 1989; Shimp, Stuart, and Engle 1987). One specific mechanism, direct affect transfer (Kim, Allen, and Kardes 1996), involves attitude conditioning through the transfer of positive affect evoked by exposure to an unconditioned stimulus (i.e., advergame) to an unconditioned stimulus (i.e., the brand) (Allen and Shimp 1990). Attitudes also can be conditioned through cognitive mechanisms, in that people can draw inferences about a conditioned stimulus on the basis of properties or information present in the unconditioned stimulus (Fishbein and Ajzen 1975). Kim, Allen, and Kardes (1996) support conditioning of brand attitudes evoked by the presentation of attractive visual images through both cognitive mechanisms and the direct transfer of positive affect. This finding makes sense in light of more recent theoretical views suggesting that exposure to a media message engages both cognitive and emotional processes and that emotion and cognition are intertwined in the human information processing system (Lang 2006).

If people draw inferences about a brand from information presented in an advergame and transfer the positive affect evoked by playing the game to the brand, the features of advergames that make it easier to engage in attitude conditioning procedures should strengthen the relationship between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand. Alternatively, advergame features that make it more difficult to engage in conditioning procedures should weaken this relationship. The thematic connection between the game used in an advergame and the brand could be such a feature.

Information processing of ads also requires encoding information from the message into working memory and storing it in long-term memory, where consumers can retrieve it later in their evaluation and decision-making tasks (Lang 2006). Conceptualizations of human memory as an integrated network of concepts, attributes of objects, and beliefs (Anderson 1990) imply that information encountered in the environment, such as stimuli in an advergame, gets stored in a pattern of interconnected nodes. Lang (2006) also proposes that the strength and number of connections between nodes containing information from a media message determines how well the message becomes stored in memory and, ultimately, how easily it can be retrieved.

In addition to information contained in an ad, people store attitudes in their associated memory network (Roskos-Ewoldsen, Arpan-Ralstin, and St. Pierre 2002). Thus, both the evaluative experience of playing an advergame and conditioned attitudes toward the brand may represent interconnected nodes in an associative memory network. Because conditioning of brand attitudes involves the systematic pairing of ad information with existing information about the brand, games that strengthen this pairing should result in a stronger connection in memory between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand. A high degree of thematic connection between an advergame and the brand therefore should strengthen the pairing between the game and the brand, resulting in a stronger connection between conditioned brand attitudes and attitude toward the game in people’s associated memory network. This pattern of attitude conditioning should become manifest in a stronger observed relationship between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand as a result of playing advergames with a high degree of thematic connection to the brand, compared with playing advergames with low thematic connection to the brand. The primary hypothesis of this experiment therefore posits:

H1:  There is a stronger positive relationship between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand for advergames with a high thematic connection between the game and the brand than for advergames with low thematic connection. 

To test this hypothesis, this research uses an experiment in which adult participants play two advergames created by Orbitz, an online travel company. The manipulation of the thematic connection involves randomly assigning participants to one of two groups, such that they play either games with a travel-related theme or games that have little to do with travel. Attitude toward Orbitz is measured both before the experiment and after participants finish playing the games, at which point they also indicate how much they enjoyed the gaming experience. Support for the hypothesis exists if enjoyment of the gaming experience accounts for more of the positive change in attitude toward the brand among participants who play the advergames with high thematic connections to the brand.



Forty-three non-student residents of a Midwest college town were recruited for this experiment through locally posted flyers, e-mail, and word of mouth. Technical difficulties required discarding data from 3 participants; therefore, the final sample consists of data from 40 people (11 men, 29 women). The mean age of this sample is 40 years (standard deviation [SD] = 16.4, range = 21-81). This adult sample includes people likely to have sufficient disposable income to purchase travel from online Web sites such as Orbitz. However, they have relatively little experience with online games; 70% report playing online games only once a month or less. Participants received $20 for taking part in the experiment.


In the 2 (thematic connection: high/low) × 2 (game) mixed-design experiment, thematic connection is a between-subjects factor that refers to the degree to which the advergame relates conceptually to the brand’s product. The game provides a within-subjects replicate factor. Participants play two randomly assigned advergames, both with either high or low thematic connection.

Participants in the high thematic connection advergame condition play “Find Your Hotel” and “Gondoliero,” both of which have a travel-related theme that reinforces the association between Orbitz and travel. The object of “Find Your Hotel” is to negotiate a series of obstacles and find a hotel; the object of “Gondoliero” is to win a series of gondola races set in the canals of Venice.

Participants in the low thematic connection advergame condition play “Paper Football” and “Sink The Putt.” “Paper Football” is based on a table game in which one person tries to flick a folded paper triangle between a set of goalposts that another person has made with his or her fingers. “Sink The Putt” is a computerized version of miniature golf, in which participants try to putt a ball into a hole in the fewest possible shots. Pretests of the games by a small group (N = 6) of strategic communication students, who played a total of eight games on the Orbitz games Web site, indicated the two games that they thought were most and least conceptually related to travel. The Orbitz logo and slogan appeared in the corner of all four games. No active integration of the brand occurs in any of the four games, though the word Orbitz appears in the playing area of the “Paper Football” game.

Dependent Variables

Attitude Toward the Game. Enjoyment evoked by a game should be consciously expressed by participants in the form of their attitude toward the game. To measure attitude toward the game, the study uses a standard measure of attitude toward the ad that previous research demonstrates is reliable and valid (Yoon, Bolls, and Lang 1998). The scale consists of six sets of bipolar adjectives placed on seven-point scales: Appealing/Unappealing, Pleasant/Unpleasant, Dynamic/Dull, Attractive/Unattractive, Enjoyable/Not Enjoyable, and Refreshing/Depressing. The Cronbach’s alpha for this scale is .97, and the ratings are summed across word pairs to create an index that represents attitude toward the game.

Attitude Toward the Brand. The attitude toward the brand measure also uses a standard attitude toward the brand semantic differential scale that previous research has confirmed as reliable (Muehling and Laczniak 1988). The anchoring word pairs are Positive/Negative, Good/Bad, and Favorable/Unfavorable, rated on seven-point scales. To disguise Orbitz as the brand of interest in this study initially, participants completed the scale for four online travel companies: Orbitz, Expedia, Hotwire, and Travelocity. The study measures attitude toward the brand during a pretest, prior to playing the advergames, and a posttest, after playing the games. The Cronbach’s alphas for the pretest and posttest applications of this scale are .96 and .94, respectively. Thus, the three scale items may be collapsed to form an index of attitude toward the brand.


After entering the laboratory, participants sat at desks with computers and provided their informed consent. The study instructions told participants that the author was interested in their attitudes toward different online travel companies and indicated how to complete the brand attitude pretest using a computer equipped with Media Lab software (Jarvis 2004). When participants completed the pretest, a researcher attached sensors to their hands and face to collect some physiological data during the game (not reported here). Participants then took part in an unrelated experiment about electronic newspapers, which increased the time (30 minutes) between when participants completed the pretest measure of attitude toward the brand and when they played the advergames and completed the posttest brand attitude measure. All participants viewed the same stimuli during the unrelated experiment. Following the unrelated experiment, participants played two Orbitz advergames for 5 minutes each, determined by their random assignment to one of the two thematic connection conditions. Media Lab randomized the order in which participants played their two games. After each game, participants completed an attitude toward the game scale. When participants had finished playing and evaluating both games, they filled out the posttest measure of brand attitude, then were debriefed, paid, and dismissed. The entire experiment lasted approximately one hour.


We hypothesize that attitude toward the game should have a stronger positive effect on attitude toward the brand when participants play product-relevant advergames, such that a positive change in attitude toward the brand should occur between the pretest and the posttest measurement. Thus, the brand attitude data submitted for analysis include a change score computed by subtracting the pretest index from the posttest index. We average the attitude toward the game scale over both games each participant played.

We first consider attitude toward the game by condition by summing the indices from both games that each participant played. The mean attitudes toward advergames with high (M = 56.2, SD = 14.19) versus low (M = 60.5, SD = 15.45) thematic connections do not differ significantly (t(38) = -.92, p > .36). Levene’s test (F(1,38) = .03, p > .87) indicates the homogeneity of variance across the two conditions. Prior to testing our hypothesis, we ran a regression using attitude toward the game as a predictor of change in attitude toward the brand, irrespective of condition. As Table 1 shows, attitude toward the game significantly predicts change in attitude toward the brand, regardless of whether the advergame is thematically connected to the product.

We next test our hypothesis by running the same regression separately for each thematic connection condition. As we show in Table 1, attitude toward the game significantly predicts changes in attitude toward the brand when a high thematic connection marks the game and the brand, which is not the case when a low thematic connection exists between the game and the brand. A Z-test (Paternoster et al. 1998) demonstrates that the regression coefficients differ significantly between these two conditions (z = 3.54, p < .05), in support of our hypothesis that the positive relationship between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand occurs only when the thematic connection is high (versus low).

Table 1. Linear Regression of Game Enjoyment on Change in Attitude Toward the Brand (N = 40) 

Condition B t SE B Beta AdjR2 F p<
Overall .05 3.15 .02 .46 .19 9.92 .01
Relevant .22 3.04 .02 .58 .30 9.24 .01
Irrelevant .12 1.71 .02 .37 .09 2.91 .11


This study provides initial insight into the effect of a specific feature of advergames-that is, relevance to the advertised product-on the relationship between attitude toward the game and attitude toward the brand. The change in brand attitude attributable to game enjoyment is stronger for product-relevant advergames than for product-irrelevant advergames. In this study, relevance is conceptualized as the degree to which the game has a thematic connection to the advertised product (e.g., travel-themed advergames for online travel companies).

Managerial Implications

At face value, these results suggest that the most effective advergame executions involve the design of product-relevant games, which can be accomplished by building games that engage players in activities related to a behavior they would do if they purchased the sponsoring brand’s product. Such efforts may be easier in some product categories than in others. Travel, the category used in this experiment, should be a fairly easy context around which to build product-relevant games. We can also imagine product-relevant advergames for a category like lawn care products, in which the player might be challenged to rid a virtual lawn of pests. The challenge to game designers will be to design product-relevant games without sacrificing the entertainment value of the game. An entertaining game will always be the most critical feature of an effective advergame, because the desired communication effect is to transfer positive affect from an entertaining media experience to the brand. As its bottom line, our experiment notes that not all entertaining games will be equally effective in achieving this goal. Advertising managers should evaluate the product relevance of proposed games for an advergaming effort to ensure the execution has the strongest positive effect on brand attitudes. The games in our experiment illustrate that the positive effect of product-relevant advergames can be achieved with fairly simplistic, and probably less expensive, online games.

Theoretical Implications

Our results provide further evidence that the transfer of positive affect elicited by entertaining media content to the sponsoring brand likely involves a mental process that could improve brand attitudes. According to an associated network view of human memory, advergame features that increase the mental connection between game content and the sponsoring brand also should increase the ease of positive affect transfer, leading to a stronger relationship between attitudes toward the game and brand attitudes. Our finding that increasing the thematic connection between an advergame and the sponsoring brand makes attitude toward the game a stronger predictor of attitude toward the brand is consistent with a theoretical explanation of this phenomenon based on affect transfer.

The immersive and interactive nature of the advergame might distinguish it from other advertising platforms such as product placement, which in turn could facilitate stronger affect transfer in advergames than in product placements. However, it remains unclear how the relevant/irrelevant distinction might differ between these two context. Researchers also have suggested that these features may weaken memory for in-game advertising by increasing demand for cognitive resources (Yang et al. 2006). These distinguishing features of an advergame provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study nuances in the relationship between ad attitudes and brand attitudes, as well as memory for advertising messages.

Limitations and Further Research

Conclusions drawn from this experiment are subject to several limitations. For example, this study examines advergaming in the context of one brand in one specific product category. Resource and time limitations make it difficult to perform a single experiment on multiple advergames for multiple brands and products. However, the effect of any given game feature on desired advertising outcomes could vary across product categories targeted at different users, which increases the importance of experiments that involve different brands and products, as well as different and larger groups of people. Furthermore, even simplistic advergames, such as those used in this study, are very complex stimuli from a cognitive/emotional processing perspective. Game features other than those studied herein will always be potential confounds for experiments in this area.

Implementing a repeated measures design, in which participants play more than one advergame containing the feature of interest, may help minimize the statistical impact of other features on data analysis. Another way to address this issue would be to establish a growing body of research about the effects of advergame features, especially in terms of the relationship between attitude toward the ad and attitude toward the brand. Examples of additional features that should be investigated for their potentially significant effects on responses to advergames include the visual complexity of the graphics and the dominance of the brand placement. Researchers need to play their own block-building games by conducting experiments about game features and thus build knowledge for advertising managers about the design of advergames that will achieve maximal effects for their clients. We believe this study provides initial knowledge about this severely underresearched advertising execution. 


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About the Authors

Kevin Wise (Ph.D., Stanford University) is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication and Co-Director of the PRIME (Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects) Lab at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  His research interests include the cognitive and emotional processing of interactive media. E-mail: [email protected].

Paul Bolls (Ph.D., Indiana University) is an Associate Professor of Strategic Communication and Co-Director of the PRIME Lab at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  His research agenda is focused on the cognitive and emotional processing of media content. E-mail: [email protected].

Hyo Kim (M.A., Syracuse University) is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.  She is interested in media effects and public relations. E-mail: [email protected].

Arun Venkataraman (M.A., University of Missouri) is an analyst at Godbe Research. E-mail: [email protected].

Ryan Meyer is a Senior majoring in Strategic Communication at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. E-mail: [email protected].


This research was funded by a grant from the Center for the Digital Globe (CDiG) at the University of Missouri.