By: Sabrina Pizziol

The SoC’s very own associate professor, Wan-Hsiu “Sunny” Tsai, is a winner of the 2019-2020 American Academy of Advertising Research Fellowship Competition. Her research proposal is one of the five that were selected among hundreds of applicants to receive a $2,500 grant.

“It is definitely an honor,” said Tsai. “Especially now that I am trying to establish a new research direction by embracing emerging technological issues like A.I.”

Tsai co-authored Interpersonal Communication with Consumers via Humanized Chatbots: Perspectives from China and the U.S.A. alongside Ching-Hua Chuan, research associate professor, and UM Ph.D. graduate, Yu Liu. The study will conduct a comparison focusing on consumers in China and the United States to evaluate how chatbots may enhance brand outcomes systematically.

This is not the first grant the proposal receives, as it was also chosen in this year’s Creative Activity and Research Awards led by U.M. faculty.

“It’s wonderful that the university encourages this kind of transdisciplinary research and puts technology at the center of communication,” said Tsai.

Cross-cultural examination of marketing and advertising tactics has been a theme in Tsai’s work, after having been born and raised in Taiwan and moving to the U.S. in 1999.

Tsai received her Ph.D. in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and has been teaching in U.M. since 2006. Since joining the Department of Strategic Communication, Tsai has poured her passion into her courses, investigating unique topics such as multicultural advertising, ‘femvertising,’ and social media engagement.

Tsai’s focus on the influence of communication in capitalistic societies continues to be featured and recognized in numerous publications, including the Journal of Advertising and the International Journal of Advertising.