Competing Claims: Two-Sided Exposure to Issue Advertisements & Endorser Cues

    Advertising studies commonly examine the effects of one-sided treatments. These research designs are effective for documenting the effects of framing, source credibility, and emotion in advertisements. However, campaigns are contests between competing viewpoints. When respondents are exposed to both campaigns’ competing advertisements will the effects of the ads cancel out, or will the ad sponsored by a credible source prevail?


    I address this question by using campaign media from real-world ballot proposition campaigns. I apply the logic of competitive argument framing to the problem of competing ads and source credibility. I leverage a randomized experiment to examine the persuasive effects of ad competition and small font ad disclosures. I find that competing advertisements tend to cancel one another out, producing opinions that are intermediate relative to single ad treatments. I also find that individuals appear to orient themselves by applying the logic of source credibility when small font disclosures are present. That is, they follow the ad sponsored by the credible source, consistent with Lupia and McCubbins (1998).

Winner, Vice Chancellor's Prize for Best Poster, Honorable Mention, UC Davis Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Symposium ($100)


Presented at West Coast Experiments Conference. Stanford University (2016)

© Matt Lesenyie 2020