Image Is Everything

Kevin Lewis

December 31, 2009

Shareholder Value Destruction following the Tiger Woods Scandal

Christopher Knittel & Victor Stango
University of California Working Paper, December 2009

We estimate that in the days beginning with Tiger Woods' recent car accident and ending with his announced "indefinite leave" from golf, shareholders of companies that Mr. Woods endorses lost $5-12 billion in wealth. We measure the losses relative to both the entire stock market and a set of competitor firms. Because most of the firms that Mr. Woods endorses are either large or owned by large parent companies, the losses are extremely widespread. Mr. Woods' top five sponsors (Accenture, Nike, Gillette, Electronic Arts and Gatorade) lost 2-3 percent of their aggregate market value after the accident, and his core sports-related sponsors EA, Nike and PepsiCo (Gatorade) lost over four percent. The pace of losses slowed by December 11, the date on which Mr. Woods announced his leave from golf, but as late as December 17 shareholders had not recovered their losses.


The Effects of Homosexual Imagery in Advertisements on Brand Perception and Purchase Intention

Mary Ann Hooten, Kristina Noeva & Frank Hammonds
Social Behavior and Personality, Fall 2009, Pages 1231-1238

This study was aimed at examining the effects of homosexual imagery in print advertisements on consumers' perceptions of the brand and intentions to purchase the product. Brand perceptions and purchase intentions were measured before and after participants were exposed to various advertisements including gay, lesbian, and heterosexual imagery. Results indicated that homosexual imagery had a negative effect on brand perceptions and purchase intentions. This effect was mediated by the salience of the homosexual imagery. Further research recommendations are made.


The Secret of Her Success: Oprah Winfrey and the Seductions of Self-Transformation

Janice Peck
Journal of Communication Inquiry, January 2010, Pages 7-14

This essay considers Oprah Winfrey's rise from mere TV talk show host to global cultural icon in relationship to the rise in the 1980s and triumph in the 1990s of the neoliberal political-economic project. It argues that the expansion of Winfrey's media enterprise and her ascent to iconic status are a product of the complex historical relationship between capitalism and the distinctly American fusion of psychology and religion captured by the term "mind cure." Drawing on Raymond Williams's sociology of culture approach, which looks for the "indissoluble connections between material production, political and cultural institutions and activity, and consciousness" (1977, 80) and Douglas Kellner's (2003) method of "diagnostic critique," the essay argues that situating Winfrey's enterprise in relation to major currents in American political, economic and cultural history provides a means to critically examine the intersection of American politics and culture over the past quarter century. The essay explores tensions inherent in Oprah Winfrey's professed mission to "empower" her followers - in which she routinely favors private initiatives and individual self-improvement over public funding and collective responsibility for societal needs, and thereby deflects attention from larger issues of social inequality and distributional politics - and considers the class and gender basis of the appeal of this project for her predominantly white, middle- and upper-middle class female following.


Morality, Complexity, Experts, and Systems of Authority in House, M. D., or "My Big Brain is My Superpower"

Mike DuBose
Television & New Media, January 2010, Pages 20-36

At first, House, M. D. appears to be a medical procedural show, as it follows a physician and his team around as they diagnose mysteriously ill patients. However, rather than following procedure, House shows the protagonist Dr. Gregory House avoiding work and subverting the hospital's policies, procedures, and authority. Dr. House's success comes from his wit, intellect, and problem-solving abilities, all of which allow him to work outside of both standard medical practices and the hierarchy of his hospital. This article argues that House, rather than being the procedural it appears to be, is in actuality a superhero program. Dr. House's intelligence is his superpower (much as is the case with comic superheroes), and it allows him to ignore traditional authority in favor of his own method. Consequently, House calls into question the very status and existence of both authority figures and mechanisms of control in the postmodern landscape.


Home Town Story: General Motors, Marilyn Monroe, and the Production of Economic Citizenship

Elizabeth Heffelfinger
Journal of Popular Film and Television, Fall 2009, Pages 126-136

This article investigates Home Town Story, a unique example of a General Motors public relations film that masqueraded as a B-movie feature. Home Town Story attempted to convince audiences of the value of economic relationships defined by free enterprise ideology. Unlike Hollywood films, however, the success of Home Town Story was not gauged solely by box office returns: Home Town Story circulated as an economic education film suitable for school students, vetted by the Brookings Institution as part of the Institution's ongoing investigation in social science education and pedagogic best practices.


The Intertextual Terminator: The Role of Film in Branding "Arnold Schwarzenegger"

Ellexis Boyle
Journal of Communication Inquiry, January 2010, Pages 42-60

Film has clearly been Arnold Schwarzenegger's most powerful promotional tool. Given how he wielded his action hero personas during the 2003 recall election from which he emerged Governor of California, an examination of his construction in film is both warranted and necessary. In this paper, I trace the development of his celebrity through a selection of his films between 1970 and 2003 and show that his image went through three major transitions from: a) initially being depicted as a foreigner and alien "other" in the 1970s to b) an American and icon of muscular masculinity in Hollywood action films of the mid to later 1980s and c) to a "New Age Guy" and family man through his movement into comedy and family themed films in the 1990s and 200s. My analysis highlights the powerful role that discourses about masculinity, whiteness and American nationhood played in supporting Schwarzenegger's constructions as a "body of governance" and in particular, his construction as a leader.


Risk Perception and Movies: A Study of Availability as a Factor in Risk Perception

Lennart Sjöberg & Elisabeth Engelberg
Risk Analysis, January 2010, Pages 95-106

Media effects on risk perception have often been explained by Tversky and Kahneman's availability principle, but research has not consistently supported it. What seem like media effects based on availability may be effects of new information. In an experimental study, entertainment movies depicting dramatic risk events were shown. They were found to produce no average effects on perceived risks in spite of large mood effects and being perceived as credible. We found, however, evidence of idiosyncratic effects of the movies, that is, people reacted immediately after the movies with enhanced or diminished risk beliefs. These reactions had faded after 10 days. Implications for the availability heuristic and risk perception are discussed.


Has Television Personalized Voting Behavior?

Danny Hayes
Political Behavior, June 2009, Pages 231-260

Scholars and political observers have suggested that television has "personalized" voting behavior in American presidential elections by encouraging citizens to cast ballots on the basis of candidate image and personality. Though an oft-heard assertion, little solid evidence exists that this is true, and the reinvigoration of partisanship and the persistence of ideological conflict suggest personalization may be less pervasive than supposed. In this paper, I use National Election Studies data to examine whether voters are more concerned with candidates' personal characteristics now than they were at the outset of the television era. I find, however, that voters are no more likely today to mention candidate personality as a reason for their vote choice than they were in the 1950s and 1960s. Moreover, while personality affects voting behavior, its influence on candidate choice is not significantly larger than it was a half-century ago. The results are not contingent on exposure to television or political awareness and are insensitive to different measures of perceptions of candidate image. The findings are consistent with the resurgence of partisan voting in American elections and suggest that some concerns about TV's effects on political judgment are exaggerated.


Rap Music Videos and African American Women's Body Image: The Moderating Role of Ethnic Identity

Yuanyuan Zhang, Travis Dixon & Kate Conrad
Journal of Communication, June 2009, Pages 262-278

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between exposure to thin ideals in Black-oriented programming and young Black women's body image disturbance, specifically addressing the moderating role of ethnic identity. Items gauging exposure to 30 rap music videos with different body size ratings were used to measure exposure to thin-ideal images among a sample of 111 Black female undergraduate students. Findings show that there was no main effect of exposure to thin-ideal rap videos on Black women's body image disturbance. Instead, the impact of media exposure was shaped by viewers' strength of ethnic identity. For Black women with stronger ethnic identity, viewing thin-ideal rap videos was related to less body dissatisfaction, less drive for thinness, and lower bulimia action tendencies. For Black women with weaker ethnic identity, reverse results were observed. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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