Airing Dirty Laundry in the Public Square: an Examination of Public Complaining

Andrew Wilson, Florida State University
Michael Giebelhausen, Florida State University
Michael Brady, Florida State University
“Customer created complaining websites” (CCCW’s) are a potentially serious threat to brands. At least 50% of Fortune 1,000 companies have been targeted by CCCW’s. Extant studies provide useful descriptions, but surprisingly, related empirical research does not exist. This paper attempts to fill this gap by empirically investigating effects on consumers’ behavioral intentions, and the potential protection of strong branding. Results indicate a significant interaction between exposure to CCCW and strong branding, suggesting that CCCW’s reduce consumer perceptions, but strong brands offer some protection. Consistent with reactance theory, if the targeted brand is among a consumer’s favorites, perceptions are ironically increased.
[ to cite ]:
Andrew Wilson, Michael Giebelhausen, and Michael Brady (2008) ,"Airing Dirty Laundry in the Public Square: an Examination of Public Complaining", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 1019-1021.