Positive Effects of Negative Publicity

Jonah Berger, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA
Alan Sorenson, Stanford University, USA
Scott Rasmussen, Stanford University, USA
Can negative publicity increase consumer choice, and if so, when? Three studies, using both econometric analysis and experimental methods, delineate contexts under which negative publicity will have positive versus negative effects. While prior research have shown only downsides (e.g., decreased sales), the studies demonstrate that negative publicity can increase choice and sales when it increases awareness. While a negative New York Times review hurt book sales for well-known authors, for example, it increased sales for unknown authors. The studies underscore the importance of a delay between publicity and purchase and the mediating role of increased awareness in these effects.
[ to cite ]:
Jonah Berger, Alan Sorenson, and Scott Rasmussen (2010) ,"Positive Effects of Negative Publicity", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 45-48 .