Consumer Well Being


How Advertising Helps or Hinders, Special issue of International Journal of Advertising; Deadline 31 Mar 2019

Special Issue on How Advertising Helps or Hinders Consumer Well Being


Concern for consumer well-being has imbued academic literature for several decades and stimulated scientific inquiry in a range of disciplines, including marketing and consumer behavior. This interest, coupled with business dynamism, have spawned several special journal issues dedicated to spurring social change among marketers in ways that improve the lives of consumers. The transformative consumer research movement has also helped marketers structure marketing and consumer behavior topics to help in this quest. Consumer well-being remains a critical and ever-evolving issue in marketing and a key societal concept because consumer consumption affects society, our economy and the environment.

Despite the ongoing interest in the topic and the increased quest for knowledge surrounding consumer well-being, little research has been published on advertising’s role in consumer well-being. The various forms of advertising can play both a positive and negative role in the trend. For example, while social media plays a critical role in building brand awareness, it also carries increased negative messages to people of all ages. Even more traditional advertising has affected individual well-being by repeatedly advertising products and services to target markets that cannot afford them, featuring ultra-thin models that are blamed for adolescents developing negative body images and eating disorders, and supporting the barrage of ads promoting “natural” solutions that are dangerous or prescription drugs that consumers demand from their physicians, whether or not they have the diagnosed condition.

The purpose of this special issue is to provide a forum where advertising research that helps or hinders consumer well-being can be disseminated. Empirical papers, qualitative research, and literature reviews are all welcome so long as key advertising issues related to consumer well-being are highlighted. The goal of the special issue is to provide insight into advertising practices and trends that can ultimately promote consumer well-being. Papers that examine the negative effects of advertising on well-being are strongly encouraged and an important part of this special issue. However, a strong discussion section, including principal implications, will be required to provide guidance on the changes that must be made for advertising approaches to positively influence consumer well-being moving forward.

IJA is a leading source of authoritative analysis and international coverage of all aspects of advertising and marketing. IJA focuses on issues of concern to practitioners, academics and policy-makers from a conceptual perspective. This, combined with its intentionally international orientation, makes it well-suited for a comprehensive examination of how advertising plays a role in consumer well-being.


We welcome papers that advance our knowledge of how advertising affects an individual’s well-being. Papers may investigate the positive or negative effects of advertising on consumer physical or emotional well-being. For example, an examination of direct to consumer advertising may be relevant if the research shows how the advertising affects consumer choices and their ultimate positive or negative effects. Papers may show how social media negatively affects consumers in their brand and product choices.

Potential paper topics that may be addressed include (but are not limited to):

  • Evidence of successful/unsuccessful applications of advertising appeals and how they have affected a person’s emotional or physical well-being.
  • The negative or positive effects of social media. This includes the power of social media as a powerful tool of change to make our lives better (such as in the use of effective health messages) as well as how that power can contribute to negative behaviors based on posted messages (e.g., the results of bullying on social media)
  • Health-related messages that have a positive or negative effect on consumer well-being.
  • New approaches to measuring the impact of advertising messages that show positive or negative consequences.
  • Understanding of the cultural factors that might play a role in negatively affecting advertising response.
  • Advertising of sin products (alcohol, e-cigarettes, marijuana, gambling) that can play a role in consumer well-being.
  • Investigating addictive technologies like Instagram, Netflix, Facebook, Fitbit, Twitter, and email.
  • A comparison of which media play a more positive or negative role in affecting consumer well-being.
  • The role of individual audience factors in how messages are perceived as negative or positive by consumers.
  • Understanding the ethical implications of advertising that harms consumer well-being.
  • Advertising specifically to children that can harm their well-being.
  • Questionable advertising to vulnerable populations (e.g., the elderly, children)

Guidelines for Paper Submission

Submissions should follow the manuscript guidelines for IJA. A typical manuscript for IJA should be no more than 8000 words; this limit includes tables, references, figure captions.

All manuscripts should be submitted through the IJA online submission system, Editorial Manager, between March 1 and March 31, 2019. Authors should select “Special Issue: Well-Being” as “Manuscript Type.” Please also note in the cover letter that the submission is for the Special Issue on Advertising and Well-Being. All articles will undergo blind peer review.

The submission deadline is March 31, 2019.

Editorial information

Guest Editor: Marla B. Royne Stafford, University of Memphis (