April 23, 2002

Cell Phone Symphony

Ring, beep, click, screech: the sounds of the cell phone symphony. While some people cannot stand the cacophony of e-communication, it's music to Todd Bacastow's ears. Bacastow (information science and technology) is studying the practicality of Location-Based Services, add-ons to cell phones or palm pilots that link information to a location. LBS could quickly assist someone stranded on a highway, give directions to Borland Lab, provide up-to-the-minute football traffic information, or tell you where to find the closest coffee shop on your way home.

—Hadley Rose

A New Downtown

Imagine a huge new cineplex to break up the skyline. A multi-level building with theaters, businesses, apartments, retail stores, and parking. Would it work? Sachin Aggarwal (finance) is part of a team designing a feasibility study to find out. "The number one misconception about marketing is that marketing is selling," Aggarwal says. In reality, marketing is about research: what communities want and what they're willing to do. Using a "discounted cash-flow model," which estimates profits while taking into account the "discounted" value of the dollar in today's market versus tomorrow's, Aggarwal will determine how many people will come to the cineplex, how much money they will pay, how many times they will go to the movies, etc., over five years. In Aggarwal's opinion, "It would be a great addition to the State College area." In April, his team presented their findings to Heritage One, a group of real estate investors who could make the plan a reality.

—Elizabeth Jin

Targeting Blacks

Only African-American advertisers can truly understand and cater to the tastes of African-American consumers, or so scholars say. But do these special "multicultural" agencies actually attract more customers than general ad agencies? Neisha Coleman (advertising and public relations) surveyed 30 black Penn State students, showing them a Chevrolet commercial produced by a general agency and a Dodge commercial made by a multicultural agency. After collecting the students' responses, which measured their awareness of the brands, similarity to the actors, and intent to purchase the advertised products, Coleman concluded that the ads were equally effective.

—Bridget Gleeson

hand on computer mouse on bright pink circular mouse pad
Kate Pollard

Margaret Gendron performed an online experiment with news magazine perceptions. She found that people expect to see an African American image with a more negative headline and a Caucasian image with a more sympathetic headline.

Last Updated April 23, 2002