Should we keep our heads down? The effect of one-sided and two-sided articulations in controversial sponsorships
MetadataShow full item record
- Master of Science 
One of the fundamental characteristics that differ a successful sponsorship from a failed one is its ability to not only create a desired corporate image for the target audience but also tap into their psychology. Ideally, it touches the mind, triggers feelings and emotions, and ultimately becomes associated with the values and beliefs that the customers hold. The strategy of using controversial subjects in sponsorships and communications as a mean to trigger strong emotions has recently been seen blooming up again as a result of a shifting political climate. Controversial political issues have been used in marketing by such well-known brands as United Colors of Benetton and Budweiser. However, brands’ customer base often holds polarized opinions regarding the controversial issues being used, which in many cases leads to a twofold effect. Using controversy in marketing activities has shown to result in both boycotts from the disagreeing consumers and positive reactions from those who agree. These consequences raise the question of whether Brand Managers should use controversy as a means to build their brand, and whether adverse effects can be minimized. Previous communication research finds that a two-sided articulation presenting both positive and negative sides of the cause can be used when consumers hold an attitude opposing the intent of the message, in order to change their attitude in a more favorable direction. The current research contributes to the topic by testing how one-sided and two-sided articulations work in the context of a controversial sponsorship and if this could be used to mitigate the potential negative effects that appear when customers have polarized opinions. The study, with some limitations, found results indicating that marketers should not expect one-sided and two-sided articulations to have the same positive results in a controversial context as it would have in a noncontroversial one. One-sided articulation, even though touching upon positive or negative aspects of the controversy, doesn’t seem to minimize the negative effect it has on people who are against the controversial cause. Specifically, if people have negative attitude towards the controversy, this negative effect is transferred to the perception of sponsorship and persists regardless of the articulation. However, not all the research goals were met since the study has some potential confounds. Based on this the researchers also identified the main limitations and made suggestions for further improvement.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2018