Executive summary of “The effects of second screen use on sponsor brand awareness: a dual coding theory perspective”

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 16 March 2015



(2015), "Executive summary of “The effects of second screen use on sponsor brand awareness: a dual coding theory perspective”", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-01-2015-1303



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Executive summary of “The effects of second screen use on sponsor brand awareness: a dual coding theory perspective”

Article Type: Executive summary and implications for managers and executives From: Journal of Consumer Marketing, Volume 32, Issue 2

This summary has been provided to allow managers and executives a rapid appreciation of the content of the article. Those with a particular interest in the topic covered, may then read the article in toto to take advantage of the more comprehensive description of the research undertaken and its results to get the full benefit of the material present.

Viewing of broadcasted sporting events continues to increase rapidly. One consequence of this is the willingness of television networks to pay higher fees to secure broadcasting rights from sports organizations. Such networks then recoup costs by providing advertisers with additional opportunities to relay their marketing messages to the viewing public.

Technology advancements have compounded this explosion of interest. In addition to television, many consumers now have the option to stream sporting events to their personal computers or handheld devices like smartphones and tablets. Even more revolutionary is the practice of viewing live content on two sources simultaneously. Watching an event on TV is often supplemented by using a “second screen” to access game statistics, observe the action from different camera angles and discuss the event with others on social media platforms.

Advertisers who sponsor events or its broadcast can benefit from what has been labeled “brand integration”. This refers to the publicity given to the brand during the actual event in question as opposed to conventional exposure during commercial breaks. Forming advertising partnerships with the holder of broadcasting rights provides a way brand integration can be attained. Firms could likewise sponsor the event or its participants. Research suggests that the traditional form of advertising is losing much of its impact, as viewers are increasingly turning away from commercials. This is easily achieved either by deploying features incorporated into digital video recorders to skip unwanted program content or turning to engage in other activities. As a result, many marketers now believe that brand integration strategies offer the best chance of viewers discerning their brand.

Previous research offers some evidence for the effectiveness of brand integration with regard to both the recognition and subsequent recall of brands. One of the inaugural studies in this field investigated brand integration with regard to a broadcast NASCAR race. It was found that recall was higher for sponsor brands featured in the event than those included in commercials. The example also indicated that “sponsorship-linked marketing” could be particularly effective, as brands featured both in the event and in commercials performed much stronger than when either channel was used alone.

Dual coding theory (DCT) is one approach to the study of human cognition. It purports that understanding is based on the interpretation of both verbal and nonverbal elements connected with an object or event using subsystems in the mind which are separate yet interrelated. Linguistic stimuli in the shape of an announcer or commentator referring to the brand during the broadcast would be processed by the verbal subsystem. Its nonverbal counterpart would be deployed to process objects such as symbols, images or logos that appear on screen. The two systems can operate in isolation or together, and each possesses the ability to spark the other into action. Theory exponents believe that storage in longer-term memory is “more stable” when both subsystems are jointly activated. Studies exploring brand recognition and recall provide empirical support for this view.

Combining sound and images rather than text and images has a more profound impact on understanding, according to certain findings. Similarly, work focusing on television and movies found that recognition and/or recall rates were higher when an audio message was added to the visual representation of the brand. Other researchers concluded that audio cues had a stronger impact than visual ones when a single cue was used.

However, results proved contradictory when brand recognition in digital or online gaming was investigated. Audio effects here were inconsequential, as greater importance was attributed to visual placement of the brand and the player’s experience and involvement with the game. Involvement has not proved a significant factor on all occasions though.

The literature reports that recall is enhanced when the viewer identifies with a team featured in the event, while aspects relating to the brand might further help to get it noticed. Market prominence, repeated exposure and the degree of fit between the sponsoring brand and the sport are among other potentially significant factors.

In the present work, the first of two studies examines the applicability of DCT. Seventy males and 28 females aged 20.34 on average participated in the aim to investigate recall of sponsors brands featured in broadcasts consumed online or via mobile devices. A 6-minute segment of clips from two college football games was used. Subjects were split into three groups and were, respectively, presented with audio and visual stimuli, visual-only or audio-only. Brands featured in the segment frequently sponsor such events. Subsequent questions measured brand recall and recognition, and level of involvement with the sport. Analysis confirmed expectations that brand recognition and recall would be higher when both audio and visual cues were present than when just one or the other was used.

Study 2 investigates the impact of second screen usage while consuming a broadcast on brand recognition and recall. Research in this area is yet limited, although some evidence does indicate that a second screen has the capacity to prove a distraction from viewing the primary source.

Males accounted for 143 of the 189 respondents, who were aged 20.54 on average. Selection of consumers between 18 and 24 for both studies was driven by awareness of their familiarity with technology and ability to multi-task. The same audio and/or visual stimuli from the first study were again deployed, while three of the six groups were also asked to complete emailing tasks using a second screen while watching the broadcast. As expected, using a second screen resulted in considerably lower brand recognition among audio-only and visual-only groups. Those exposed to both stimuli could generally still recognize featured brands though. Introducing a second screen also significantly lowered recall for both audio-only and visual-only groups. Contrary to expectation, recall was also much lower in the audio-visual condition.

Findings with regard to recognition indicate that brands are stored into a consumer’s memory for later retrieval. However, second screen usage can evidently impede subsequent recall. Based on prior studies, Jensen et al. put forward the idea that impairment could be attributed to cognitive overload caused by simultaneous engagement in other tasks. They advocate further exploration of this.

Marketers are advised to adopt an integrated approach to help consumption of audio-visual stimuli pertaining to their brands. Fusing conventional elements like brand signage with “media assets” is the suggested strategy here. The authors also argue that sponsorship packages should offer audio-visual exposure to improve the value for sponsor brands. Caution against presuming exposure automatically increases awareness and recall is advised, particularly when a second screen is present. To counter its potentially negative effects, marketers might capture attention for their brands on social media through the use of Twitter hashtags or sponsored tweets.

The possibility of some pre-existing awareness of brands used in the studies is acknowledged by Jensen et al. Limitations of the laboratory settings are likewise noted. Conducting field research in future is, therefore, advised. Scholars might also investigate whether second screen usage affects attitudes toward the brand or purchase intention. To ascertain the wider implications of findings here, similar studies of other shows or events featuring brand integration is warranted. Exploring the usage of second screens among older consumers is another option to pursue.

To read the full article enter 10.1108/JCM-02-2014-0861 into your search engine.

(A précis of the article “The effects of second screen use on sponsor brand awareness: a dual coding theory perspective”. Supplied by Marketing Consultants for Emerald.)

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