Skip to Content

College of Information and Communications

  • Banner Image

Linwan Wu: Merging human insights with artificial intelligence

The integration of artificial intelligence in the ever-evolving world of advertising and strategic communication has sparked both curiosity and debate. Questions surrounding the ethical implications of AI usage, particularly corporate transparency, abound in public discourse.

Linwan Wu, Ph.D., associate dean of research and associate professor in the USC College of Information and Communications, has led the charge to unravel the intricacies of AI's role in marketing communications through a series of groundbreaking studies.

Wu’s extensive research has sought to bring answers to the countless questions surrounding stakeholder and consumer responses to AI integration.

His most recent study, published in the Journal of Advertising in March 2024, delves into the crucial aspect of informing consumers about the usage of AI in advertising. Titled "Disclosing AI’s Involvement in Advertising to Consumers: A Task-Dependent Perspective," the study offers valuable insights into how transparency about AI's role influences consumer perceptions and behaviors.

These findings took root when Wu received a fellowship from the American Academy of Advertising Research in 2021, serving as the principal investigator on a project exploring AI disclosure in advertising.

“While the advertising industry lacks a unified stance on the need for disclosing the use of AI in advertising, we, as researchers, believe that it is crucial for consumers to be aware of the technologies influencing the persuasive messages they receive,” said Wu.

In addition to his extensive work around AI transparency and consumers, Wu has pursued answers to other timely AI-related questions through his body of research.

  • Wu, along with Chen and Tao, explored the intriguing intersection of AI, corporate ability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices in another study published in the Public Relations Review. Their findings, presented in "Instilling Warmth in Artificial Intelligence? Examining Publics’ Responses to AI-Applied Corporate Ability and Corporate Social Responsibility Practices," shed light on how AI applications can impact public perceptions of corporations, emphasizing the importance of imbuing AI with warmth and empathy.
  • In a fascinating exploration of public discourse surrounding AI and marketing, Wu's research in collaboration with Zhou, Zhang and Shashidhar, titled "ChatGPT and Marketing: Analyzing Public Discourse in Early Twitter Posts," was published in the Journal of Marketing Analytics. This study employed innovative methodologies to analyze Twitter conversations, revealing valuable insights into the evolving relationship between AI technologies like ChatGPT and marketing strategies.
  • In a 2022 study co-authored with Dodoo, Wen and Ke, Wu examined Twitter conversations about AI in advertising using natural language processing techniques. Published in the International Journal of Advertising, their study titled "Understanding Twitter Conversations about Artificial Intelligence in Advertising Based on Natural Language Processing" provides a comprehensive analysis of consumer sentiments and discussions surrounding AI-driven advertising campaigns.
  • Wu's collaboration with Wen resulted in a thought-provoking study published in the Journal of Advertising Research. Titled "Understanding AI Advertising from the Consumer Perspective: What Factors Determine Consumer Appreciation of AI-Created Advertisements?," this research investigates the factors influencing consumer appreciation of AI-generated advertisements, offering valuable insights for marketers and advertisers.

“Through his pioneering research, Wu has significantly contributed to our understanding of AI's role in marketing communications, unraveling its implications for consumers, corporations and marketers alike,” said Damion Waymer, Ph.D., director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. “His interdisciplinary approach, leveraging advanced methodologies from advertising, public relations and marketing analytics, exemplifies a commitment to academic excellence and innovation.”

Wu's research serves as a catalyst for fostering informed discussions on the ethical, social and economic dimensions of AI and its impact upon the fields of advertising and strategic communication. With Wu at the helm of these vital research efforts, the CIC is at the forefront of understanding where AI intersects with human insights.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.