ADPR’s Eric Haley Earns AAA Lifetime Research Award
After more than three decades of teaching and researching in his field, Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations Professor Eric Haley was surprised with the American Academy of Advertising’s (AAA) Ivan L. Preston Outstanding Contribution to Research Award at the organization’s recent conference. This is an award recognizing the recipient’s lifetime of research and its impact, and rather than being given out annually, it is only awarded when a deserving candidate is nominated.
According to his nominator, Joyce Wolberg, Haley was an ideal candidate to receive the prestigious honor this year.
“I have known Eric myself for 30 years and thought he would be a logical person to receive that award. He’s always been a terrific and prolific researcher, but in recent years he’s been the editor of a journal, plus last year he won the best paper award for three different journals, and they happen to be the top journals in advertising and the three journals that that association sponsors,” said Wolberg, who is a former PhD student of Haley’s and recently retired as professor and dean of academic affairs for Marquette University’s Deiderich College of Communication.
Haley’s history with AAA goes back to the early 1990s, and includes a stint as president of the organization from 2021-2022. He has been with the College of Communication and Information for 31 years, ever since he graduated from the University of Georgia with his doctoral degree and was hired on as an assistant professor. He sat on Wolberg’s dissertation committee and the two have since conducted research together and recently co-authored a paper.
As for the body of work that Haley was honored for, it centers on two areas: how advertising and society affect each other, and advertising management issues.
“I’m interested in advertising and society very broadly defined—using the power of advertising and message strategy creation to positively impact social issues, our lives, our health,” he said. “The other area is advertising management issues, and that is to make sure we’re being responsive to industry, ensuring we’re current in what’s going on in the advertising industry, as well as helping the industry solve its problems.”
His most recent work includes political advertising literacy and helping the public understand how to parse if political advertising they see is valid or not. He and Wolberg also recently submitted a paper, which was accepted and presented at the AAA conference, that focused on non-drinkers in academic institutions and how institutions can communicate to them and support them.
“It’s hard for anybody to have excelled in so many different areas of research. On top of that, the areas of research he has chosen are very interesting, too; he’s taken on the social and ethical issues in advertising, he’s looked at privacy issues in social media, ethical concerns with environmental advertising, social issue ads, financial advertising literacy, prescription drug advertising, and other aspects of health issues,” Wolberg said. “He’s done things that really make a difference in society and, on the flip side, he’s also looked at areas within advertising in terms of the industry itself, how the industry works, so he has looked at ad agencies and certain performance roles within ad agencies. He’s made contributions in the selected areas he chose to do research in, and they weren’t just the hot topics, he chose topics he really believed in.”
Haley gave credit to his colleagues and institution for the roles both played in him receiving the award. The quality work by faculty and students at the Tombras School has made it more visible, Haley said, and the support he has received to conduct research was essential to his success. Tombras School Professor and Director Beth Foster said that in turn, Haley’s work has left an indelible mark on advertising research and education.
“I am thrilled that he received this very prestigious honor, of which he could not be more deserving, as an enduring record of his outstanding influence on the research in the field. Dr. Haley is an extremely productive scholar; however, just as notable as the extent of his record is the efforts he makes while culling it to include aspiring scholars with his projects. He has been a highly prolific researcher and mentored many young scholars in their research streams. That is a rare and wonderful combination,” she said.
In fact, Haley is one of two people who were faculty at the Tombras School when they received the Ivan L. Preston award, as former interim director of the school, Sally McMillan, was the 2021 recipient of the award. Haley said it is a rare occurrence for one school to have two people receive this award, and he’s humbled to be one of them.
“The coolest thing about getting this award for me is that when I look through the list of the past winners, it’s humbling because these people are who I’ve always considered to be the giants in our area, and several of them are my former mentors. So it’s just kind of shocking to me to even be near that list, much less in it,” he said.