A series of three studies examines potential consumer confusion associated with the advertising copy used to describe cause-related marketing (CRM) campaigns, where money is donated to a charity each time a consumer makes a purchase. The first study assesses the relative frequency of various copy formats in CRM on the Internet. The authors find that the majority of the copy formats (69.9%) are abstract (e.g., a portion of the proceeds will be donated), 25.6% are estimable (e.g., X% of the profits will be donated), and 4.5% are calculable (e.g., X% of the price will be donated). Subsequent studies find that (1) slight variations in abstract wording in advertising copy leads to considerable differences in consumers’ estimates of the amount being donated, (2) the amount of the donation estimate for each abstract copy format varies considerably across individuals, and (3) the donation amount can impact choice. Taken together, the three studies demonstrate that the vast majority of advertising copy used to describe CRM donations is abstract, that different but legally equivalent abstract copy formats result in large differences in mean perceived donation level, and that these donation levels can impact consumer choice. Implications for advertising strategy and public policy are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management