Social and Political Marketing Issues: Broadening the Scope of Consumer Behavior

J. Craig Andrews, Marquette University
ABSTRACT - This paper reviews the previous papers presented in the "Broadening the Scope of Consumer Behavior" session. The purpose of each paper is first presented with similarities and contrasts among the papers, as well as critical comments and suggestions for each paper, following.
[ to cite ]:
J. Craig Andrews (1987) ,"Social and Political Marketing Issues: Broadening the Scope of Consumer Behavior", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 14, eds. Melanie Wallendorf and Paul Anderson, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 519-520.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 14, 1987      Pages 519-520


J. Craig Andrews, Marquette University


This paper reviews the previous papers presented in the "Broadening the Scope of Consumer Behavior" session. The purpose of each paper is first presented with similarities and contrasts among the papers, as well as critical comments and suggestions for each paper, following.


Certainly, both society and the discipline of consumer behavior benefit from the careful examination of such socially relevant issues as: the stages of drug involvement, adolescent shoplifting behavior, and the effect of campaign expenditures on voting behavior. Today, great efforts are spent on campaigns to reduce drug (including alcohol) abuse, however, we are still far from a full understanding of each stage of addiction, as well as the appropriate promotional prescriptions to reduce addiction in each stage. Shoplifting is notably one of the largest monetary crimes, yet is just beginning to be examined to understand reasons for such behavior, as well as the programs needed to curtail this activity. In the political marketing arena, recent campaign expenditures have reached extraordinarily high levels, raising market power and inequality questions in elections. Undoubtedly, research examining the many effects of campaign expenditures on voting behavior is welcomed.

The present papers have contributed to knowledge in their respective fields by examining these difficult, socially-relevant issues. Specifically, the DePaulo, Rubin, and Milner paper offers a model of the stages of involvement with addictive drugs and presents the model as a basis for future research on the effects of drug-related marketing efforts. Moschis, Cox, and Kellaris present the results of an exploratory study of adolescent shoplifting behavior utilizing theories of cognitive development and social learning. Finally, Siomkos and Ghosh present the results from a sample of the 1982 Congressional elections in examining differences in the effects of campaign expenditures on voting patterns by incumbency status and party affiliation of the candidate.


There are market similarities among the first two papers (stages of drug involvement and adolescent shoplifting behavior). One common theme appears to be a relatively sparse body of empirical research on these social marketing issues. A likely explanation is the difficulty of accurately measuring these and other "negative" social behaviors (e.g., gambling, overeating, smoking). The traditional measure of self-response, although insightful, may be biased if there exists any indication to the subject that their anonymity has been compromised. In comparison, attempts to unobtrusively measure (e.g., observation; asking respondents to assess why "others" would shoplift or use drugs) negative behaviors may also face validity problems because they might be measuring factors other than personal motivation to engage in the negative behavior. The development of multiple measures to assess negative behavior may be a step toward reconciliation of these problems.

In contrast to the limited nature of empirical research on these behaviors, there exists a multitude of theories and explanations for addiction behavior (cf., Lettieri, Sayers, and Pearson 1980), as well as for shoplifting behavior (e.g., cognitive development and social learning theories). These theoretical frameworks will be helpful in the empirical research process.

In the case of the effect of campaign expenditures on voting behavior, there exists a rich body of past empirical research on the topic. However, there is a need to incorporate the many research variables into a conceptual model of voter behavior. On the micro-level, some work in this regard has been initiated (cf., Newman and Sheth 1985).

With these similarities and contrasts in mind, the papers are now discussed separately with specific suggestions for future research.


Although the seven stages of the addiction process (trial, light use, transition to addictive use, addictive use, cessation of addictive use, post-cessation, relapse-repeat dependence) developed by DePaulo, Rubin, and Milner offer only a minor variation of the Lettieri, Sayers, and Pearson (1980) model (initiation, continuation, transition: use to abuse, cessation, relapse), exceptional insight is provided throughout the stages, including important motivational and social group influences. The discussion provided a link between each stage of drug involvement and theoretical frameworks, such as Shimp and Dyer's (1979) factors influencing drug consumption. A significant contribution of the paper is the suggestion that anti-drug abuse campaigns can be more effectively targeted recognizing the motivational differences of addicted individuals across the seven stages.

One caution in the application of the seven-stage model of addiction is that the initial step of the process is triaL Although the introductory stage is mentioned as including "the events and influences leading up to, and including, the individual's initial use of the substance," a specific subdivision of these trial antecedents would be helpful in the formation of anti-drug abuse campaigns. Of particular assistance would be the initial stages of the adoption process (awareness, interest, evaluation) as well as the stages of information processing (exposure, attention, comprehension, yielding/acceptance, retention). Indeed, as indicated by Shimp and Dyer (1979, p. 42) "... investigation of the advertising-drug use link would greatly benefit by focusing on intermediate processing stages (e.g., comprehension; agreement; McGuire 1976)..."

In the paper, although there are clear implications for market segmentation, recommendations and implications concerning marketing effectiveness and drug involvement lack empirical support. For example, empirical support, at this time, is needed for claims that "conditioned" cues (e.g., drug paraphernalia, beer bottles) intended for those in stages 1 to 3 may have unintended, detrimental effects (e.g., relapse) if advertised to those in stage 6. The notion of conditioning behavior (cf., Allen and Madden 1985) assumes a repeated pairing between the conditioned stimulus (e.g., paraphernalia) and unconditioned stimulus (e.g., the drug itself) in order to elicit the same response over time, or extinction results. Any research on this topic would need to determine if (1) extinction has occurred during the cessation stage, and (2) whether the meaning of the conditioned cues has changed during cessation. For example, drug paraphernalia may have elicited positive responses for the addict during addiction, but during the cessation stage, they might have an entirely opposite effect. Empirical research would also have to acknowledge that many advertisements are a reflection of society ant, therefore, one in cessation is just as likely to be exposed to cues from friends and acquaintances as from advertising. In addition, those in controlled (vs. strict) consumption conditions would still have access to cues via their treatment and should not be included in a study of these effects. Investigation of the interactions between trial experience and advertising (Deighton 1984; Hoch and Ha 1986; Smith and Swinyard 1982; 1983) would be helpful in research of this nature.


As with the previous papers, given the sparse body of prior research on this topic, it was a pleasure to see a study of this nature.

In the Moschis, Cox, and Kellaris study, cognitive development and social learning theories were used as a framework for the investigation of adolescent shoplifting behavior.

For the most part, the methodology (of prime importance in such a study) was very carefully developed. In particular, admirable efforts were mate to ensure the anonymous nature of the questionnaire. Care was also devoted to efforts in establishing the reliability of motivational shoplifting scales. Additionally, all hypotheses were presented with sound reasoning, grounded in theories of cognitive development and social learning, and past (albeit sparse) empirical support.

Turning to the results explanation, some discussion is needed explaining who some of the results (especially in the case of H6 and H7) were contrary to prediction. For example, in the case of H7(a), why was the youth's socioeconomic status significantly, positively correlated with economic motivations for shoplifting - contrary to prediction? One likely possibility emanates from the measurement of the motivations for shoplifting. Since the statements were designed to measure why others ("they") steal (vs. why the respondent would steal), it is possible (in H7(a)) that a respondent from a higher socio-economic status was thinking of "they" in terms of others with a lower socio-economic status. Therefore, the higher the status, the greater the agreement that they (those with a lower status) would steal for one reason or another. The consistency across attitude, frequency, and motivational measures should be maintained.

As indicated in the Moschis, Cox, and Kellaris paper, it is difficult (with a correlation/cross-sectional study) to establish the causality of the frequency of communication with peers and shoplifting behaviors. This problem, however, also surfaces for many other variables examined, such as socio-oriented family communication and shoplifting behaviors. Future research should focus on longitudinal and experimental (although difficult) designs to help establish causal predictions.

The delineation of differences between antecedents and consequences of shoplifting behavior is an important direction for future research. Efforts in this regard, as well as help from the adoption process and information processing stages, will aid in research attempting to develop a theoretical framework of shoplifting behavior.


This paper, authored by Siomkos and Ghosh, investigated the impact of campaign expenditures on voting patterns by incumbency status and party affiliation. Independent (campaign expenditures, incumbency status, and party affiliation) and dependent (percentage of actual votes received) variables were selected with great care based upon a solid foundation of research in political advertising (e.g., Chapman and Palda 1984; Palda 1975; Rothschild 1978; Soley and Reid 1984; Welch 1976). Perhaps the strongest contribution of the paper was the well articulated development of the linear and nonlinear models of voting behavior. Suggestions are now in order for two important areas of the research: results explanation and development of conceptual model of voter behavior.

Beyond the general advantages of incumbency and the voting results of Democrats vs. Republicans, additional information is needed explaining why the results of the absolute and marginal effects of campaign expenditures on voting behavior occurred in this situation. For example, is it possible that following the enormous Democratic defeat in the 1980 election year voters now selecting Democratic incumbents were operating under lower levels of involvement (Rothschild 1978) than those selecting incumbent Republicans? If this were true, a significantly greater impact of campaign expenditures would be predicted for the lower involved electorate. As indicated in the Siomkos and Ghosh paper, future studies should further probe the nature of the asymmetries.

Given the multitude of variables hypothesized to have an impact on voter behavior (e.g., incumbency, party affiliation, involvement, past party history, success of top candidates of party, length of message, closeness of race, etc.), perhaps what is needed is a conceptual model or framework showing how these primarily external variables serve to influence voting behavior and its consequences. Some work in this regard has focused upon internal variables and factors affecting primary voter behavior (cf., Newman and Sheth 1985). As a final note, longitudinal models assessing the impact of voter attitude formation, intentions and behavior would also help to provide better insight into the dynamics of the political process.


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