Eastern Michigan University professor Dr. Judy Foster Davis wasn't expecting to receive an award honoring her work, but couldn’t be more grateful that she has.
On Nov. 18, Davis attended the 2022 Advertising and Society Colloquium hosted at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. There, she received the Paul Kurnit Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Field of Advertising and Society.
"It's a pretty prestigious honor and I was shocked to receive it," Davis said.
Davis teaches marketing and integrated marketing communications at EMU's business school and is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Advertising and Society Quarterly. The Quarterly is a journal highly recognized at the Advertising and Society ceremonies for its publications of advertisements, commercials, and other similar content.
"I do a lot of research and a lot of my research has touched on some of the hidden aspects of advertising and promotion. In particular, I look at the people behind the ads and behind the marketing messages," Davis said. "Advertising messages takes a lot of effort. A lot of expertise and a lot of money went into executing them. So when you see an ad, you wonder, 'how did they come up with that idea?' That's the kind of stuff that I get into."
Some of Davis' other works include "Pioneering African American Women in the Advertising Business: Biographies of Mad Black Women," a book notably mentioned upon receiving her award.
She said that as the award was being announced, the editor of the journal began an introductory description, but she still wasn’t aware the award was going to her until the speech continued further.
“They mentioned something about marketing communications and some other things that I said. I thought, there's somebody else here that has a marketing communications background, because I'm assuming the award is for someone else," Davis said. "But he mentioned a book that has to do with pioneering African American women in the advertising business and then I think I just put my hands over my face, I got a little emotional."
The Advertising and Society Quarterly journal and The Advertising Educational Foundation came together to establish the Paul Kurnit Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Field of Advertising and Society. A committee grants the award to someone with an established body of marketing research with an impact on the advertising society.
"I don't know who's on the committee, but they selected me. The award is in honor of the late Paul Kurnit, who was a part of the Advertising and Society Quarterly. Paul unfortunately passed away last summer," Davis said.
Davis continues to remain passionate about her work in marketing and advertising. She knows there is much today's society can learn from it.
"I think these things are so important in terms of understanding who's behind the imagery, what the imagery means, and how we can diversify and do a better job in terms of the advertising being represented," Davis said. "It has an impact on the society politically, economically, and culturally. Advertising on the surface, you know, sometimes it just seems so dumb and stupid. But when you get down into the root of what the foundation of some of these representations are, they are really meaningful."