Research Proposal: TV Commercials


TV commercials are annoying at the best of times, they interrupt what you really want to be watching, but even if you don’t like commercials, it doesn’t mean they don’t do their job. The general purpose of a television commercial is to have a memorable effect on its target audience. An advertisement could be very comic and entertaining but not deliver its message, making it forgettable, or an advertisement could be very informative and practical, but yet again, forgettable. Television commercials work by letting the audience believe that they need the product, I plan to investigate whether two selected commercials from the same company essentially ‘work’ in this sense by being memorable. I plan to explore whether an audience finds comic, or informative television commercials more memorable. In the study “Context Effects On Memory For Television Advertisements, the investigation looks at involving commercials in contrast with uninvolving commercials to identify which was more memorable and why.

Opposed to the previous study, I plan to investigate whether specifically humorous or informative television commercials have a different effect with a sample group of university students. With age, generally comes smarts, when it comes to being persuaded by advertising, in particular, university students tend to be skeptical when it comes to being persuaded by advertisements. I also plan to observe and assess which specific commercial technique worked most effectively from the two-selected television commercials. Most television commercials are uninteresting and a waste of money for the company who paid for it, the findings from this research and experiment will assist in implicating more effective and memorable television commercials, along with identifying what advertising techniques work most effectively on consumers who spend the most.


Previous Study:

In the previous study “Context Effects On Memory For Television Advertisements”, attention was focused on the involvement, memory and other effects with the audience and the commercial. Subjects were given a program to watch with commercial breaks, they watch six commercials and were assessed with a questionnaire after viewing the program. The subject’s answers to the questionnaires generated correlations between Free recall, Product Recognition, Cued Recall, Brand Recognition, Global Recognition, Global Recall and Global Memory. The findings from this previous research identified “that psychological involvement in a television program is related to memory for and attitudes towards accompanying advertisements. But completely different results were obtained for memory scores on the one hand and subjects’ attitudes and ratings of the advertisements on the other.”

The research I plan to do differs from this and will focus on only two specific commercial from the one company, opposed to looking at the effects of a television program on television commercials. The research I plan to do will also look at the specific techniques used in each commercial, this study will determine which was most memorable and for what reason (technique).



Commencing the investigation, I will find two commercials from the same company, which will be assessed, one that is information filled, and another, which is humorous.

The commercials will then be deconstructed and analyzed; I will explore the techniques used in each, why they were used and compare themes and target audience. Theoretically, I will discuss and answer the following questions:

  • What techniques were used in each commercial?
  • Why were specific techniques used in each commercial?
  • What was the target audience?

This information will give the theoretical knowledge to make a hypothesis before the practical investigation begins. The findings from these investigations will give an insight to a probably conclusion. The findings from the theoretical and practical investigations combined will identify the most memorable and effective commercial techniques and styles.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 8.41.58 AM.png


Humorous television commercials will be more memorable to viewers because of the comic engagement that the commercial offers the audience.



  1. Collect two separate television commercials from the same company, one humorous, and the other informative.
  2. Find a series of ten irrelevant questions to show the subjects before, in-between, and after the commercials. These questions will distract the subjects from the commercials and mislead them to believe that they are being assessed on something other than television commercials. These questions and this process will eliminate the bias that the subjects would have had, if they knew the purpose of the experiment.
  3. Construct a questionnaire for the subjects to assess the memorable techniques of each commercial and the overall most memorable and effective commercial.
  4. Record findings.



This proposed research investigation and experiment would improve the previous experiment “Context Effects On Memory For Television Advertisements”, by specifically analyzing the techniques of the commercials. Instead of looking at random commercials, I will look at only two from the same company with two specific themes. This research experiment looks at whether humorous or informative commercials are more memorable to viewers.



Thornton, 2014, Television advertising techniques, Available From: < > advertising techniques


Norris, Coleman, 1993, “Context Effects On Memory For Television Advertisements” Available From: < >


Marcus, 2006, Volume 81, Number 1, Where Does The Money Go?, Available From: < >


One comment

  1. des972 · March 31, 2016

    The only thing I could suggest might be to look at the effect of TV program genre on the effectiveness of advertisements. An example of this could be a comparison of the effect of a humorous advertisement broadcast during a light, humorous show like ‘The Simpsons’ and something more dry or heavy like a current affairs or news program.
    You have clearly conducted good research because your sources and the examples of previous study seem highly relevant and of a high standard. The only thing I could suggest to improve would be a narrowing down of what research techniques you would like to use. This could be useful as you could find similar studies to compare.
    Excellent proposal overall.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s