Dr. Les Carlson, professor and Nathan J. Gold Distinguished Professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business, received the distinction of being named a fellow of the American Academy of Advertising (AAA). The honor means a lot to Carlson, who started attending AAA meetings in the early 90s.
“I value the award because being named a fellow recognizes scholarship achievement, leadership in the academy and teaching,” said Carlson. “My goal through my entire career is to excel in all three areas. I don’t want to just be a good teacher. I don’t want to just be a good researcher. I don’t just want to be a good service provider. I want to do all those things well.”
He also values the selection process for the fellows. More than 600 individuals vote on the honor.
“The entire Academy votes on it. It’s not a small group deciding who is going to be selected as fellow. The recognition shows me others recognize I accomplished the things I set out to do,” he said.
Carlson, a native of Oakland, Nebraska, originally got involved with advertising by chance. He received his Ph.D. from Nebraska Business and focused on consumer socialization.
“Advertising drew me in – it wasn’t planned. My dissertation investigated how parents help their kids become consumers. At the end of my dissertation I put in some future research directions that had advertising implications. I started out as a consumer behavior researcher and navigated over to advertising because it fit with the stuff I was already working on,” he said.
The AAA gave Carlson an outlet to express his research ideas with colleagues from throughout the world. He served as president of the AAA in 2007, and served in other roles such as treasurer and vice president.
“We all search for that organization that reflects who we are, and I’m glad I found this one,” said Carlson. “The AAA embraces a lot of people. It includes marketing people who are interested in advertising, but it also includes people from advertising and public relations.”
Carlson taught at the University of Arkansas and Clemson University before returning to Nebraska in 2008. He served as interim chair of the Department of Marketing for one year.
“One of the big reasons I came back to Nebraska was the opportunity to work with Ph.D. students. This department values the type of research I do. I like to maintain a public policy perspective in what I’m doing to make a difference to society and consumers as a whole,” he said.
Dr. Ravi Sohi, interim chair of the Department of Marketing, professor and Robert D. Hayes Distinguished Chair of Sales Excellence, praised Carlson’s distinction as a fellow.
"For almost three decades, Dr. Carlson has helped advance the theoretical developments in advertising. Not only has he published many research papers in the area, he also served as editor of the Journal of Advertising
. Being named as fellow is a great honor and a recognition of his contributions to the field of advertising,” said Sohi.