ADV281: Advertising Research Methods

Abigail Blankensop ADV ’19

After just having finished ADV 150 with Steve Hall the previous semester, I was very thrilled to further my path in advertising and take the next course, ADV 281: Research Methods. I knew that while ADV 150 had just covered surface topics, ADV 281 would really allow me to dive into the major. This class would further my knowledge of advertising, so I was pretty excited…until I talked to a few other advertising students. They told me that this would probably be the most challenging advertising course I would take at Illinois. Hearing this made me very skeptical about going into that first day of class. Soon after the first two lectures, I discovered that ADV 281 is not as bad as everybody makes it out to be. Research Methods covers all of the quantitative and qualitative research techniques that are used to advertise different products and brands.

At the beginning of the semester, we began by learning to understand target audiences. Target audiences help an advertiser to know what kind of people would consume a product or brand, or what kind of people the product or brand wishes to advertise to. This was something that really interested the class, because even though not all of us were interested in being a researcher, we all fit into one of these target consumer groups. One tool we used to examine consumers is PRIZM. PRIZM divides consumers into segments based on their demographics and psychographics. One example of these segments is “Networked Neighbors”. This group can be described as wealthy middle age, mostly with kids, plays tennis, and eats Chipotle.

During class, we have also gone over other research methods that involve reading and analyzing data sets, forming appropriate research questions, and creating surveys. It all sounds very technologically difficult, but the professor makes it very easy to understand. Each lecture there is extensive time spent on explaining the small lessons. That being said, this class is one where attendance really reflects your understanding and grade of the material. As long as you participate and listen in lecture it makes the class all the more interesting and beneficial to you.