Date of Graduation

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology

Advisor

Leslie Edgar

Committee Member

Casandra Cox

Second Committee Member

Jefferson Miller

Third Committee Member

Pengyin Chen

Keywords

Agricultural Communications, Campaign Evaluation, Celebrity Endorser, Focus Groups, General Public, Visual Analysis

Abstract

A communications campaign was developed for a commodity promotion board in the southern region of the United States with promotional pieces produced and disseminated by a third-party communications group to reach the general public, soybean producers, and animal agriculture producers target audiences through key themes and messages. A systematic, content-driven approach assessed the potential impact on perceptions of individuals. This study utilized a content and visual analysis based on semiotic theory to analyze creative pieces and focus groups to assess content quality and impact.

Many of the creative pieces displayed too many themes, and the themes did not accurately represent the intended message. Although TCG achieved predominately consistent messaging, a portion of promotional pieces across all audiences lacked an outlined message for comparison. Thus, one-third of the creative pieces lacked a means of evaluating the piece to determine overall campaign success. A local celebrity endorser, P. Allen Smith, was utilized to establish credibility in the general public target audience. Many participants also felt the promotional piece was not targeted to their audience and felt the key message was unclear and message was vague and non-descriptive, due to the lack of targeted, audience specific messaging present in promotional pieces. The quality of promotional pieces ranked between fair and average in all five areas: copy, image, design, video, and audio across all three audiences. However, scores were slightly higher in the general public audience, due to efforts by Smith's production team. Additionally, because the ASPB campaign materials did not identify a specific audience segment of Arkansas' general public, it was difficult to recruit a targeted group of individuals to assist with campaign evaluation through focus groups.

Promotional campaigns must be evaluated to determine effectiveness. The researchers recommend utilizing a needs assessment to aid in identifying appropriate messaging, and test those messaged through evaluation procedures, such as focus groups. A gatekeeper, responsible for reviewing or testing any materials, is recommended for future campaign communications efforts. Future research should continue to assess commodity promotion effectiveness. Finally, the Model of Messaging and Campaign Development was developed by researchers for future communication campaign efforts.

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