Prosocial Advertising Messages


Special issue of the Journal of Advertising Research; Deadline 8 May 2023

POSTING TYPE: Calls: Journals

Author: Nanette Burns

Call for Papers

Prosocial Advertising Messages

Click here to register for a Webinar on Oct 21 with the Special Issue Editor.

Prosocial behaviors are generally considered voluntary actions intended to help or benefit other individuals or groups of individuals. These actions are generally preceded by intentions that may be generated through a range of prosocial messages communicated via a range of channels, including advertising. Prosocial messaging has moved to the forefront today, prompted by key societal issues related to climate change, public health, mental health, suicide prevention, and people’s overall well-being, and by a post-Covid environment that has further exposed widening inequalities with respect to gender, race, and wealth. Many for-profit firms are adopting prosocial causes and missions that often are featured prominently in their advertising.

In the midst of our societal challenges, advertising has a responsibility to communicate messages which provide consumers information they can use to make smart decisions. Yet, research has found that not all advertising helps consumers (Gilbert et al, 2021), but, instead, it can actually harm them.

This special issue of JAR seeks manuscripts specifically on prosocial advertising messages, with the goal of publishing a set of papers with insights and actionable recommendations that can be implemented to help generate positive decisions and behaviors.

Submissions are welcome on an ongoing basis up to May 8, 2023.

The following is an indicative, but not exhaustive, list of possible areas for submissions:

  • Understanding and developing advertising’s role in alleviating poverty, and in bridging racial and economic divides
  • Understanding advertising’s role in developing public policy that has implications for societal issues
  • Creating messages that have an impact of individual behavior that can affect such topics as climate change and mental health
  • Developing campaigns that reduce public stigma in potentially biased situations such as gender, racial, sexual identity, and mental or physical health related biases
  • Testing a range of theoretically sound communication strategies to support eco-friendly behaviors
  • Utilizing new technologies (e.g., AI, VR, neuromarketing) to create effective advertising strategies to engage consumers in a range of prosocial behaviors
  • Cross-media synergies in creating effective advertising campaigns across a range of prosocial behaviors
  • Challenges faced in prosocial advertising in the face of attribution and a multi-screen world
  • The role of social media in prosocial advertising messages
  • Developing advertising messages with both short-term and long-term effects
  • Health-related messages that have a positive effect on consumer’s decision-making and overall mental and physical well-being
  • Understanding cultural factors that may a play a role in prosocial messages
  • A comparison of which media play a more effective role in in producing more effective prosocial messages
  • How emotional appeals play a role in the effectiveness of prosocial advertising

We are looking for immediately actionable research findings, and as a result there is preference for submissions that include empirical data (i.e., quantitative, qualitative, or mixed). Conceptual submissions are encouraged only if they contribute major advancements relevant to advertising practice. Given our strong industry readership, please place particular emphasis on practitioner implications of the research findings.

The length for JAR submissions is 7,000 words, excluding references. Authors are encouraged to make use of online appendices for material useful, but not central, to the paper. Submission guidelines can be found here.

The special section editor is Dr. Marla Royne Stafford ( at the Lee Business School at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Papers should be submitted via the JAR’s Editorial Manager online platform.

See previous calls for papers here.

The authoritative version of this call can be found here.