sealPurdue News

April 8, 2003

War has advertisers seeking new strategies

Looking for a measure of public opinion on the war? A Purdue University communication expert says television commercials are one way to gauge public opinion.

Mohan Jyoti Dutta-Bergman, an expert in strategic communication, can talk about the changes companies and advertisers make during times of crisis, such as war, to balance their ad content with public opinion.

"Since the war started we have seen more commercials with patriotic themes," says Dutta-Bergman, communication professor in the School of Liberal Arts. "Some ads are very direct, with calls for television viewers to support our troops, and others may embed their patriotic message.

"On one hand, companies need to reflect the country's mood, but on the other hand, there is always the fear that the organization will be perceived by members of the public as opportunistic and even as trying to cash in on difficult times."

During a crisis, advertisers are less likely to be noticed because consumers are glued to television programming for news, he says.

"Either way, commercials will be toned down and will not be so humorous. We will see warm and fuzzy messages, as well as commercials that incorporate more families, homes and personal touches."

CONTACT: Dutta-Bergman, (765) 494-2587,

Expert says war won't hurt global fast food

Foreign consumers aren't likely to let their taste buds do the talking when it comes to expressing their distaste with American policy, says a Purdue University communication professor.

In the short term, the war will affect brands with a strong, visible U.S. country-of-origin tie, such as certain fast food and soft drink companies, Jian Wang says. The negative impact depends on the competitive brands in a particular country. For the most part, U.S. fast food and soft drink companies have developed a dominant position in many foreign markets. Without any viable non-U.S. competitors in the same product category, there aren't other options for foreign consumers, Wang says.

Wang is an expert in global and international advertising marketing who can talk about how American companies advertising in foreign countries will be adjusting during the war. He also can speak about brand strategy and international public relations.

CONTACT: Wang, (765) 494-3325,