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Annual Conference 2019

March 28–31, 2019

Marriott City Center, Dallas, TX

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4.2b All Brands Welcome? An Exploration of How Brand-Cause Fit Shapes Messages in Femvertisements

Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 8:30 AM–10:00 AM CDT
2-Normandy B

A growing trend in advertising is “brand responsibility,” wherein a brand aligns itself with a social issue. A prominent focus of these messages is gender equality, namely, female empowerment. Advertisers utilize “femvertisements” to emphasize their support of women. However, the motive behind this work is often called into question, given brands’ inherent desire to sell products. Advertisers should consider how brands “fit” with specific social issues. In this study, brand-cause fit is explored through a qualitative analysis of advertisements that received an award for femvertising. Previous research conveys that the effect of brand-cause fit on consumer evaluations is inconsistent. This study sheds light on the relevant differences in message themes between brands with high versus low brand-cause fit, in an effort to further this literature. Four key themes are elucidated: What it Means to be a Woman, The Current State of Women, Hesitation to Alienate your Current Target Audience, and Product Purpose. Brand-cause fit is also assessed from an “image” perspective. A brand’s corporate image is conveyed through their leadership and social initiatives. Among brands with award-winning femvertisements, however, few had female-focused corporate leadership yet several had existing initiatives devoted to women. Implications for advertising practitioners and researchers are discussed.

First & Corresponding Author

Sara Champlin, University of North Texas
Authors in the order to be printed.

Sara Champlin, University of North Texas; Yvette Sterbenk, Ithaca College; Kasey Windels, University of Florida; Maddison Poteet, University of North Texas

Additional Authors

Yvette Sterbenk, Ithaca College
Kasey Windels, University of Florida
Maddison Poteet, University of North Texas