The University of Iowa

Annual Report 2010-2011

Out Front logo--The University of Iowa

Did you see that?

Marketing researcher examines how we remember what we don't remember

Just because you zip through the commercials while watching your favorite TV shows on your DVR doesn't mean the sales pitches aren't getting through.

"It's clear from research that many times, when you fast forward through the ads, they frequently influence the viewer," says Rob Rouwenhorst, a lecturer of marketing in the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business who studies the psychology of advertising.

The title of Rouwenhorst's recently completed doctoral thesis is "Do Zipped Commercials Influence You?" and that also turns out to be a multi-billion dollar question in the entertainment industry. More than 36 million Americans own DVR devices of some kind—TiVo is the most well known—and numerous studies show that more than half of them fast forward through the commercials.

Since advertisers can no longer be sure how many viewers are paying attention to their commercials, they will either pay less for them or look for other advertising methods altogether. As a result, Rouwenhorst said billions of dollars in advertising revenue are at stake for broadcasters.

He said his interest in zipped commercials started when he became enraptured with his first TiVo, which he bought in 2001 as an MBA student.

"I watched more TV than I should when I was studying for my MBA, and then had to quit watching entirely when I started studying for my Ph.D.," he said. But one question that came to mind as he zipped through commercials, and then lingered even after he'd given up television, was whether those commercials made any impact on his behavior even though he had no conscious memory of them.

He made that the central question of his research and discovered that, yes, they probably had. He says researchers have looked at how well consumers remember ads that are zipped at speeds of 300, 1,800 and 6,000 percent real-time. They've found that at 300 percent, viewers can recall an ad even better than one they've seen at normal speed. While this may seem counterintuitive, Rouwenhorst said it's possible because the viewer using a DVR is actually paying more attention to the screen as she's zipping through ads so she can stop right at the start of the program's next segment.

For that reason, Rouwenhorst says, companies engaged in online advertising may be better served by allowing consumers to fast-forward through videos but regulate their speed.

"Viewers often just open up a new window and continuing browsing until the advertisement they are 'forced' to watch ends," he says. "It may be more advantageous to give customers a sense of control and let them fast-forward, but at a slow speed. Not only would they be more likely to recall the advertising but they may actually feel more positively toward the brand that did not force them to sit through an advertisement."

stories about people, being human, our bodies, minds, health care, or existential questions

P also stands for Provost

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Peel appeal

Substance found in apples promotes muscle growth in mice...more

Fear discovery

Fear discovery could lead to new interventions for PTSD...more

Cystic fibrosis finding

UI-led study could help predict severity of disease, may lead to new therapies...more

Locking out Ebola?

UI-led research team identifies receptor for virus...more

Beating mealtime woes

Pediatric feeding program helps children overcome severe eating difficulties...more

Furry FriendsProgram provides emotional lift to young patients...more

a patient hugs a dog that is part of the Furry Friends program

Working toward justice

UI law students help commute abused woman’s prison sentence...more

Body-language bewilderment

UI study investigates variability in men's recall of sexual cues...more

Muscular dystrophy discovery

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Nursing dedicates center

Top-rated gerontological/geriatric program gets boost from $2.2M donation...more

Heard the buzz?

University of Iowa researchers identify caffeine-consuming bacterium...more

things associated with work—business research, economic development, education

You can’t beat BONGO

BONGO app on a smartphoneNew service helps bus riders get real-time route information via mobile devices...more

Quite the impact

UI contributes $6 billion annually to Iowa economy, creates 1 in 30 jobs...more

Meet the dean

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Holy hardware!

High-performance computing cluster is UI's largest supercomputer ever...more

A precarious development

UI study finds employee training might actually increase turnover...more

“Transformation, reflection”

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Did you see that?

Marketing researcher examines how we remember what we don't remember...more

Taking back the message

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Meeting real challenges

Wild Bill's Coffee Shop signBusiness student group aids nonprofit organizations... more

Online approach adds up

UI offers new Web-based resources to maximize student math potential...more

Stop the wacky wikis!

wikipedia logoUI researchers design tool to improve Wikipedia accuracy...more

Managers matter

UI researcher finds that bad leadership wrecks companies, despite what leaders wish...more

stories about Iowa, the country, the world, the universe (geography, flooding, immigration, space)

Lightening their load

Virtual Soldier Research helping Navy, Marines with combat effectiveness...more

A welcome proposal

Iowa Flood Center embraces call to develop national flood center...more

Something in the air

UI researcher finds black carbon implicated in global warming...more

Set sail on micro scale

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Sharing our gift

South Korean teachers visit UI to learn more about gifted education...more

Herky hits D.C.Hawkeye Caucus makes trip to nation's capital...more

Herky outside White House in DC

Helping unify a nation

College of Law professor guides Nepal toward new constitution...more

Giving Chile a clearer picture

UI researchers develop system to predict air pollution events for Santiago...more

Screening overseas

Films with UI ties play at renowned Venice, Cannes festivals...more

Aiding a town’s turnaround

Grad students partner with Dubuque on sustainability initiative...more

Beyond science

Lakeside LabLakeside Lab in northwest Iowa serves as regents resource center...more

A global grasp

New UI student group seeks to improve UI, China business opportunities...more

arts and entertainment, athletics

A plan of note

LMN Architects selected to design new facility for UI School of Music...more

Fit for EveryoneNew recreation and wellness center opens...more

Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

Something to admire

UIMA Director Sean O’Harrow envisions art museum for 21st century...more

Hawks’ run continues

Football squad notches third straight bowl win at 2010 Insight Bowl...more

Sophocles, rebooted

University Theatres Mainstage presents interactive Antigone 2.0...more

India has honors

Hawkeye golfer named Big Ten Player of the Year...more

Democracy's harmony

School of Music ensemble’s interactive presentation is music to students’ ears...more

Those Who CanExhibit honors departed art faculty...more

Tom Aprile exhibit

Ladies take KinnickA sporting way to tackle a fund-raiser...more

Marcus Coker hangs on to the ball as a Ladies Football Academy participants tries to take it away

This app is apropos

UI development team launches Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature iPhone app...more

Giving life to the defunct

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More than a game

Law school helps students study the legal side of sports...more


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One for the Ages

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