Dr. Karen Whitehill King

Jim Kennedy New Media Professor, Advertising

About: Dr. King has taught advertising media planning, advertising campaigns and advertising research. Her research interests include advertising industry issues and health communication.

Dr. King officially retired in August, 2020, but she still advises some Ph.D. students and co-directs the Cannes Lions program.

View Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D., Communications, University of Illinois
M.S., Advertising, University of Illinois
B.S., Advertising, University of Illinois

Research Interests and Activities

Dr. King’s research principally focuses on health communications and advertising industry issues. She has published her research in leading academic journals including Journal of Advertising, Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of Newspaper Research, Journal of Health Care Marketing and Journalism Educator. She was the editor of the 1994 Proceedings of the American Academy of Advertising Conference. In addition, Dr. King has presented her work at numerous advertising, marketing and mass communication academic conferences.

Study finds Grady College Advertising/Public Relations excels in advertising research productivity. Hye Jin Yoon, Karen Whitehill King & Nathaniel J. Evans

Faculty and doctoral graduates in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in Grady College were the most visible authors or co-authors in the three leading peer-reviewed advertising research journals from 2008-2019, according to a study in Journal of Business Research that was published July 27. Among the most visible were Professor Emeritus Leonard Reid, Professor Emerita Karen King, […]

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Putting Things into Context: A Meta-Analysis of Media Context Effects on Attitudinal Outcomes Karen Whitehill King

Abstract: The role of media context in advertising has been the subject of interest for marketers and media practitioners over the past fifty years. However, there remains a lack of clarity on the relationship between media context and advertising outcomes. To structure previous literature and facilitate knowledge development, this study meta-analytically examines the relationship between […]

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The Effect of Media Multitasking on Ad Memory: The Moderating Role of Program-Induced Engagement and Brand Familiarity Karen Whitehill King

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of program-induced engagement on the amount of media multitasking (MM) and its subsequent impact on ad memory. It explored how brand familiarity attenuates or aggravates the detrimental effects of MM on cognitive evaluation of ads. Two lab-based experiments were conducted. The findings of the […]

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Journal of Advertising Research Best Academic Paper Award Karen Whitehill King

Eun Sook Kwon, (Grady PhD, Rochester Institute of Technology), Karen Whitehill King (University of Georgia), Greg Nyilasy (Grady PhD, University of Melbourne) and Leonard N. Reid (University of Georgia), (2019). Impact of Media Context on Advertising Memory: A Meta-Analysis of Advertising Effectiveness. Journal of Advertising Research, 59 (1) 99-128. Abstract: Media professionals and scholars have examined the influence […]

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In-Stream Video Advertising: Effects of Congruence and Advertisement Positions on Consumer Response Karen Whitehill King and Shuoya Sun

Abstract: This study examines the effects of ad-context congruence and ad positions on consumers’ response in an in-stream video advertising setting. Findings of the study indicate that, regardless of ad positions, ad-context congruence improved recall and recognition of the brand while ad-context incongruence facilitated recall of ad content. Taking ad position into consideration, contextual congruence […]

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Viral Video Ads: Emotional Triggers and Social Media Virality Karen Whitehill King

Abstract: Previous studies have found that emotional arousal and emotional valence are important for video ads to be shared. As marketers are exploring new strategies to increase their viral effectiveness in social media, there is a need to provide guidelines on how to elicit emotional engagement that can trigger advertising virality. Drawing on recent findings […]

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The Impact of Media Context on Advertising Memory: A Meta-Analysis of Advertising Memory Karen Whitehill King and Emeritus and Retired Faculty

Abstract: Media professionals and scholars have examined the influence of media context on advertising effectiveness for more than 50 years, but clarity regarding media-context effects remains lacking, amid an abundance of mixed results. This study used meta-analysis to investigate the relationship between media context and advertising memory in quantitative studies up to 2013. Effect sizes […]

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Teaching Specialties

Her primary teaching interests are media planning, advertising account planning/research and advertising campaigns. With Margaret Morrision at the University of Tenneesee, Dr. King coauthored a textbook supplement, Media Buying Simulation. She is a member of the Graduate Faculty and was a participant in the UGA Lilly Teaching Fellows program. In 1999, she was named the Donald G. Hileman Educator of the Year by the American Advertising Federation’s Seventh District for her work with the University of Georgia Ad Club and campaign competition team.


Prior to joining the Grady College, Dr. King worked at Foote, Cone and Belding Communications, Inc. in Chicago as a media buyer/planner and a research supervisor. While on the faculty at UGA, she has been a visiting communication researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta working on their AIDS public service campaign and a visiting professor at Lintas in New York. She served as a research consultant to Searle, Sylvan Learning Centers, Promedica, WAGA-TV and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Awards and Fellowships

In September 2001, Dr. King was nominated to UGA’s Teaching Academy. The Academy recognizes excellence in teaching and exists to promote improved teaching throughout the University. Dr. King was named a Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, UGA’s highest teaching honor, in 2016.

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King, Karen
In the News

PHD 9.0 helps connect advertising students and their research on Gen-Z with professional agency executives

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Grady College celebrates retiring faculty Karen King and Leara Rhodes

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King Distinguished Professorship in Advertising established

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Karen King appointed president of the American Academy of Advertising

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PHD Grady Creative Collective researches media habits of multicultural millennials and Gen Zers

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Moxie leads Fall content strategy workshop for AdPR students

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Karen King named a Meigs Professor

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