Glenna L. Read, Zhao, W. (PhD student), Choi, S. (PhD student), Hudson, S. (undergraduate student), Wen, T. “This ad speaks to me: An investigation of mechanisms underlying social identity relevant advertising,” paper to be presented at 2023 International Communication Association. Toronto, Canada.
Abstract: Brands increasingly engage with social issues with messages distributed to consumers. One essential factor explaining the success of brands’ corporate advocacy advertising (CAA) is consumers’ social identity and relevant pre-existing attitudes toward a social issue. A brand’s CAA makes these identity cues salient, resulting in a cascade of psychological and physiological responses that predict message outcomes. For this reason, the intersection of consumers’ identity with the social issue presented in marketing communications is essential for predicting the success of a CAA campaign. We investigate motivational activation as mechanisms underlying this interaction, which has implications for cognitive and affective processing of messages and persuasive outcomes. Informed by social identity theory and theories of motivational activation, we employ an experiment using psychophysiological measures with a 2 (pre-existing attitude: consistent or inconsistent with message) x 4 (message topic: racial justice, environment, COVID-19 vaccination, control) x 2 (message repetition) design to examine response to CAA based on consumers’ (current n = 52, total desired n = 100) attitudes toward social issue. We expect that messages that are consistent with participants’ attitudes will activate appetitive motivational system activation and lead toward more positive attitudes toward the ad, brand, purchase intention, and social media engagement behavior.