Guilt Appeals in Cause-Related Advertising: When Does a Guilt Appeal Backfire?

Chun-Tuan Chang, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan
Ting-Ting Chen, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan
Cause-related marketing (CRM) has become a major corporate philanthropic trend to donate money to a charity each time a consumer makes a purchase. This research extends the research of CRM by incorporating potential influences of product type and donation magnitude on CRM effectiveness and tests the idea that responses to guilt appeals in CRM advertising could be influenced by aforementioned factors. In addition to practical and hedonic products, a product containing both practical utilities and hedonic rewards is incorporated. Experimental results indicate that a guilt appeal is more effective than a non-guilt appeal. Guilt appeals backfire when the product is perceived as hedonic or the donation magnitude is high. When promoting hedonic products, the boomerang effects of guilt appeal become less influential as the donation magnitude increases. The implications of the findings are discussed as well as limitations and directions for future research.
[ to cite ]:
Chun-Tuan Chang and Ting-Ting Chen (2010) ,"Guilt Appeals in Cause-Related Advertising: When Does a Guilt Appeal Backfire?", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 522-523 .