Three Identities

Stay Connected:.

Research Gate    

Minjie Li, Ph.D.
Media Scholar | Educator | Digital Communicator

Minjie Li is a researcher and expert in brand activism/responsibility, multicultural advertising, and digital marketing communication in relations to social change for underserved and historically marginalized communities. He is currently researching and teaching advertising at the University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida, USA.

Research Areas: Multicultural and Prosocial Strategic Communication, Digital Advertising, Media Diversity, Media Psychology, Gender and Sexual Minorities, and Intersectionality
NCA Doctoral Honors Fellow
USC Annenberg Diversity in Media and Culture Fellow
6 top paper awards from AEJMC (5 solo-authored)
Published in academic journals

Instructor of Record, Multicultural and Prosocial Strategic Communication,  Advertising Creative Direction, Principle of Advertising and IMC, Visual Communication, Multiculturalism and the Media
Promising Professor Award First-Place Recipient, AEJMC Mass Communication & Society
AEF’s Visiting Professor Program in NYCAssociation of National Advertisers

Former Interactive Designer and Digital Journalist, 2008 Olympics Official Website
Visual Communicator (Photojournalism, Multimedia Storytelling, Data Visualization, Graphic Design, Video Production, Web/App Design)
Published by Peter Lang Publishing
Best of Digital Award, AEJMC



Influence for Social Good: 

Exploring the Roles of Influencer Identity and Comment Section in Instagram-Based LGBTQ-Centric Corporate Social Responsibility Advertising

Brands have increasingly collaborated with influencers on their social advocacy efforts through social media influencer advertising. This study explores the effects of influencer identity and comment section in Instagram-based corporate social responsibility advertising within the context of Pride collection supporting the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community. Through an experiment sampling both non-LGBTQ and LGBTQ Instagram users (N = 645), the present study investigates how the featured Instagram influencer’s intergroup identity (non-LGBTQ, LGBTQ) interacts with comment valence (positive, negative) to influence consumers’ responses to the Pride collection advertisements contributing to the LGBTQ cause. Moreover, it explores whether perceived influencer credibility, brand hypocrisy, and brand motive mediate the effects of influencer identity and comment valence. The findings demonstrated that the LGBTQ-identified influencer elicited more perceived credibility and less brand hypocrisy, particularly among the LGBTQ participants. However, the non-LGBTQ influencer elicited more positive ad attitudes and behavioural tendencies among the cisgender heterosexual non-LGBTQ participants. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

(Image credit: H&M for non-commercial educational uses)


The Synergistic Effects of Solutions Journalism and Corporate Social Responsibility Advertising 

This study explores the synergistic effects of solutions journalism and corporate social responsibility (CSR) advertising. More specifically, it experimentally investigates how news story orientation (i.e., Problem-Oriented, Solution-Oriented) interacts with the relevance of the advertisement (i.e., Irrelevant Non-CSR, Low-Relevance CSR, High-Relevance CSR) displayed alongside the news story to direct people’s affective and cognitive responses to the news story and advertisement in the digital sphere. The findings demonstrated that the solution-oriented story elicited more positive affect, issue interest, self-efficacy, intentions of sharing the story on social media or researching the issue, favourable attitudes towards the advertisement and the brand, purchase intention, and recommendation intention. Irrelevant advertising elicited significantly less favourable attitudes towards the advertisement and the brand, purchase intention, and recommendation intention. However, pairing the solution-oriented story with the irrelevant advertisement elicited significantly more brand recall. Theoretical and practical implications for journalism and advertising are discussed.


Communicating Support in Pride Collection Advertising:

The Impact of Gender Expression and Contribution Amount

Each year numerous brands, including those with a global consumer base, develop “Pride collections” or, limited-edition, often rainbow-patterned products created for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) Pride month. These products have received criticism for co-opting LGBTQ symbols for commercial purposes. Using samples of heterosexual and LGBTQ participants, this study examines the impact of model gender expression (masculine, feminine) and non-profit contribution amount (1%, 100% of sales) on for-profit consumer responses (attitude toward the ad, brand, and purchase inten tion) to Pride collection advertisements.

(Image credit: H&M for non-commercial educational uses)


Intermedia Attribute Agenda Setting in the Context of Issue-Focused Media Events: Caitlyn Jenner and transgender reporting

On April 24, 2015, Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner confirmed her transgender identity on the 20/20 Special: Bruce Jenner—The Interview with Diane Sawyer and started her own reality show, I am Cait. This study identifies patterns of second-level intermedia agenda setting in the framing of transgender issues, examining the extent to which Jenner’s high-profile planned media events about her gender transition influence how national print newspapers and television report transgender-related stories and the salience of certain story attributes. More specifically, through a comparative quantitative content analysis, this study found that transgender-related reports appearing after Jenner’s interview were more likely to (1) mention alternative non-binary gender discourses to highlight transgender subjectivity, (2) take the intersectionality perspective to address the complexity of transgender issues from the aspects of race, class, and sexuality differences, (3) differentiate transgender issues from LGB (lesbian, gay, and bisexual) issues, and (4) take in-depth approaches to report the stories. However, transwomen are still disproportionally represented and sensationalized in the media, while transmen have received no significantly increase in media representation in national newspapers and television.

(Caitlyn Jenner image credit: Vanity Fair)

Collaborations? Questions? Contact me…