Current Issue Summary
March 2021 (Vol. 61, Issue 1)
How Cause Marketing Campaign Factors Affect Attitudes and Purchase Intention: Choosing the Right Mix of Product and Cause Types with Time Duration
Cause-marketing campaigns typically involve a company’s promise to donate a certain amount of money to a nonprofit organization or social cause when customers purchase its products or services. So, how long should that campaign last to be the most effective and under what conditions, such as types of products and causes? A research team combining experts in China and Taiwan— Chun-Tuan Chan (National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan), Xing-Yu [Marcos] Chu (Nanjing University School of Business, China); and I-Ting Tsai (National Sun Yat-sen University, now at Acer, Inc.) — compared successful campaigns with varying durations and conditions. Wendy’s, for example, donated 50-cents for each Frosty sold over more than a year (2016-2017) to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help children in foster-care families. By comparison, Lancôme’s 2010 campaign to donate seven dollars to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, for every bottle of one of its perfumes sold, lasted just one day.
Over the course of three studies, the researchers examined how short- and long-duration campaigns differ in terms of consumers’ product evaluations and perceptions of the company. Short and long-duration combinations ranged from two weeks vs. one year, to one week vs. four months, to six days vs. six months. Fictitious product types varied between hedonic (experiential/pleasure) and utilitarian, and cause types were categorized as primary (life necessities) and secondary (quality of life). Duration, product types and cause types were paired differently, to explore differences in the outcomes of such combinations.
Among the implications:
- A short duration is advantageous for a hedonic product paired with a primary cause.
- Consumers favored this combination because they attribute positive motives to the company for launching cause-related marketing campaigns.
- When considering a long-term, strategic, cause-related marketing promotion, a company can choose either a primary cause for a utilitarian product, or a secondary cause, such as quality of life, for a hedonic product.
- Companies should monitor consumers’ motive attributions regarding a cause-related, marketing campaign, to ensure that the attribution is positive.
Read the full article here.