Researchers to use AdPR grant to study sunscreen messaging

Three researchers in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations have been awarded $3,000 to study how consumers respond to sun protection content in cosmeceutical advertising.

Elaine Lin, Jooyoung Kim and Juan Meng won the first departmental seed grant competition last spring for their proposal, Understanding Positive and Negative Associations Underlying Consumers’ Responses toward Cosmeceutical Advertising: Implications for Skin Cancer Prevention.

“We initiated the program last academic year to encourage further good work and enhance opportunities for funded research,” said Tom Reichert, AdPR department head. “Faculty will use these funds for pilot studies that will help them when they apply for external grants. The ultimate goal is to further enhance the department's emphasis on research, and encourage the pursuit of external funding,” he explained.

A summary of the research project appears below.

As a fast-growing product category, cosmeceuticals represents a hybrid of personal care products and pharmaceuticals. Given its increased consumer interest, growing market share, public concerns, and potential health benefits, research on cosmeceuticals is very timely. Considering that, the purpose of this research is two-fold. First, with a focus on sunscreens, the proposed research will explore consumers’ knowledge of cosmeceuticals, how consumers’ self-regulatory systems influence perceived risk and benefit of cosmeceuticals, and whether the interaction between the positive and negative perceptions will result in attitudinal ambivalence. Second, the proposed research will delve into the interaction effect of consumers’ self-regulatory systems and advertising message claims on changes in attitude, and subsequently influence purchase intention. The results of this research will further our theoretical understanding of factors that account for consumer responses toward cosmeceuticals as an ambivalent object. This research is also expected to help health communicators and advertisers better understand consumer responses toward sun protection content in cosmeceutical advertising and provide guidance to create potentially more effective messages to reduce the risk for skin cancer.

Date: August 26, 2015

Contact:  Tom Reichert,