Firearms, brass knuckles… and instagram: Intended and unintended influence of social media advertising

Valerie K. Jones, Ming Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the influence of social media advertising is critical to brands today. This study explores how Instagram advertising from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), largely featuring confiscated weapons, influences attitudes towards the brand and, unintentionally, towards gun control. A between-groups online experiment found that brand attitudes were not influenced, but light crime show viewers and video game players exposed to TSA’s Instagram content showed higher support for gun control than heavy violent crime show viewers and video game players. This research provides practical insight into how a government agency brand communicates with the public subject to its services. It also has theoretical implications, extending priming and desensitisation literature in exploring the relationship between violent social media images, prior exposure to violent media and gun control attitudes and, ultimately, suggesting that brand social media content can unintentionally influence attitudes towards social issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-189
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Brand Strategy
Volume9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Keywords

  • Branding
  • Desensitisation
  • Gun control
  • Instagram
  • Priming
  • Social issues
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Firearms, brass knuckles… and instagram: Intended and unintended influence of social media advertising'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this