Images Paired with Concrete Claims Improve Skeptical Consumers’ Responses to Advertising Promoting a Firm’s Good Deeds
Journal of Marketing Communications, Forthcoming
38 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2013 Last revised: 22 May 2016
Date Written: 2013
Previous research has focused attention on state skepticism over corporate social responsibility (CSR) communications, but little work has focused on how to override pre-existing differences in consumer skepticism. To gain insight into this issue, the present studies explore whether company ads promoting a firm’s good deeds generate more positive responses when the ads contain concrete claims and/or images related to the firm’s corporate social responsibility claims, and how these elements of the CSR communication interact with individual differences in advertising skepticism. Results show that highly skeptical consumers (a) respond less favorably to ads than less skeptical consumers, overall; (b) respond more favorably to ads that contain a combination of concrete claims and images supporting those claims; and (c) respond as favorably as less skeptical consumers when ads feature concrete claims with supporting images. Additional results suggest that images are effective among highly skeptical consumers because skeptical consumers have a reduced ability to visualize advertising claims. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
Keywords: advertising skepticism; advertising effectiveness; vague versus concrete advertising claims; use of images in advertising; corporate social responsibility advertising
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