Moving Forward by Looking Back: Resurrected Advertising Topics as an Impetus for Investigative Endeavor

Thumbnail Image
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
2022 Informa UK Limited
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
Journal Issue
Is Version Of
This special section is devoted to advertising theories, methods, conceptualizations, and practices which may no longer be on the cusp of advertising scholarship interest or practitioner use but which may still hold significance and utility for scholars and practitioners. One may ask: Why is such a section needed? Indeed, many of us adhere to the belief that the way to move a field forward is to create (and/or apply) new theories to guide research (cf. Royne 2016). However, upon the inspection of several “thought” pieces published relatively recently in the Journal of Advertising, we felt that a revisit to older theories and concepts might prove a fruitful endeavor to accomplish this noteworthy objective. These pieces include reflections written by past Journal of Advertising editors (Carlson 2015; Faber 2015; Laczniak 2015; Reid 2014; Royne 2016) as well as those involving the speculation of the future of advertising (Kumar and Gupta 2016; Schultz 2016). While we believed that many of the reflections pieces would largely suggest that retrospective thinking is needed, we also speculated that articles written about the future of advertising would seem to be less likely to make such a suggestion. Yet, oddly enough, collectively, both sets of articles seem to converge into a similar thought pattern: Looking back may be an important step as we move forward. The revisiting of past topics allows researchers to possibly rule out passé explanations of now outdated phenomena, but it also offers the possibility that a resurrected framework could be used as the basis of an adjustment of theory as we recognize changes in the advertising environment in the future (cf. Kumar and Gupta 2016). Thus, we specifically sought submissions for this special section that included a comprehensive review of past literature about a topic—the “look back”—that would then set the stage for why the topic should be, as we stated in the call for papers, “resurrected.” We hoped, by requiring this review together with hypotheses and/or propositions resulting from and based on the review to serve as guides, that additional commentary and investigative exploration might be spurred about the topic—in other words, the “move forward.” In essence, we sought submissions to this special section that identified advertising areas which may have been abandoned by advertising practitioners and scholars but which deserved further consideration. We believe these goals were achieved in the articles that are included in our special section, and we thank Shelly Rodgers, Journal of Advertising’s editor in chief, for suggesting this idea for a special section.
This accepted article is published as Laczniak, R.N., Carlson, L., Moving Forward by Looking Back: Resurrected Advertising Topics as an Impetus for Investigative Endeavor. Journal of Advertising, 2022. Posted with permission.