Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards Program bestows 11 grants

18 Mar 2009

LONDON – Eleven research awards have been granted to universities under the auspices of the Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards Program, which was announced by both companies in the fall of 2008. An impressive field comprising of more than 120 entries were received by the deadline for proposals.

The program is overseen by Professor John Quelch, senior associate dean of Harvard Business School and a non-executive director of WPP; Dr. Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist; and Professor Glen Urban, former dean of the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This committee made final decisions on the proposals to be funded and will guide the project implementation process for the winning submissions.

The supported projects represent the first round of awards in the three-year program that will see WPP and Google commit up to $4.6 million to support research into how online media influences consumer behavior, attitudes and decision making. Funding for the supported projects will be released in this month.

“I was very impressed with the volume and quality of the submissions. I think we have an exciting set of grants that are truly innovative, academically rigorous, and relevant to practice of Digital Marketing” said Professor Urban.

“The winning projects offer convincing designs to explore how online and offline marketing influence consumer attitudes, decisions and purchase behavior. As marketing continues to become more digital and more measurable, the results of these studies would also advance our understanding of how advertising investment should be allocated among media channels” said Dr. Varian.

"These awards promise to focus some of the best minds in the marketing academy on the marketing impacts of the digital revolution," added Professor Quelch.

The researchers and affiliated academic institutions participating in this first round of supported projects are:

  • “Effect of Online Exposure on Offline Buying: How Online Exposure Aids or Hurts Offline Buying by Increasing the Impact of Offline Attributes”; Amitav Chakravarti, New York University, Stern School of Business, Department of Marketing
  • “The Interaction Between Digital Marketing Tactics and Sales Performance Online and Offline”; Elie Ofek, Associate Professor Marketing, Harvard Business School and Zsolt Katona, Associate Professor of Marketing, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business
  • ”Are Brand Attitudes Contagious? Consumer Response to Organic Search Trends”; Donna L. Hoffman, Professor, A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, University of California Riverside and Thomas P. Novak, A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, University of California Riverside
  • “Does internet advertising help established brands or niche ("long tail") brands more? Catherine Tucker, Assistant Professor of Marketing, MIT Sloan School of Marketing and Avi Goldfarb, Associate Professor of Marketing, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management University of Toronto
  • “Marketing on the Map: Visual Search and Consumer Decision Making”; Nicolas Lurie, Assistant Professor of Marketing, College of Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Management and Sam Ransbotham, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, Carroll School of Management, Boston College
  • “Methods for multivariate metric analysis; identifying change drivers”; Trevor J. Hastie, Professor, Department of Statistics, Stanford University
  • “Unpuzzling the Synergy of Display and Search Advertising:Insights from Data Mining of Chinese Internet Users”; Hairong Li, Department of Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing, Michigan State University and Shuguang Zhao, Media Survey Lab, Tsinghua University
  • “Optimal Allocation of Offline and Online Media Budget”; Sunil Gupta, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; Anita Elberse, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School; and Kenneth C. Wilbur, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
  • “Targeting Ads to Match Individual Cognitive Styles: A Market Test”; Glen Urban, Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management
  • “How do consumers determine what is relevant? A psychometric and neuroscientific study of online search and advertising effectiveness”; Antoine Bechara, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Psychology/Brain & Creativity Institute, University of Southern California and Martin Reimann, Fellow, Department of Psychology/Brain & Creativity, University of Southern California
  • “A Comprehensive Model of the Effects of Brand-Generated and Consumer-Generated Communications on Brand Perceptions, Sales and Share”; Douglas Bowman and Manish Tripathi, Professors of Marketing, Goizueta Business School, Emory University.
Proposals for the next round of funding will begin to be accepted in the late spring. Information on the Google and WPP Marketing Research and Awards Program is available at

Feona McEwan, WPP, London
T. +(0)20 7408 2204
[email protected]  

Kevin McCormack WPP, New York
T. +1 (212) 632 2239
[email protected]