The Controversiality of Brands Taking a Stand: Is Social Justice for Sale?
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- Master of Science 
In recent years, the popularity of social justice advertisements has grown, with some famous brands as adopters, such as Gillette, Audi, and Pepsi. This type of campaign exploits social causes in favor of leftist themes and usually attracts sparking dialogue, observed in the media coverage and consumer comments. While ordinary campaigns seek to inform, persuade, or recall consumers about brands, these commercials attempt to bear issues to public attention with concealed persuasion goals. This research aims to understand the different consumers' reactions to woke campaigns with a mixed public response. Previous research on this topic is lacking as well as the political viewpoints influencing the responses to the campaigns were not analyzed. Thus, this study will help address this gap, extend the advertising literature, and bring insights about the adverse reactions, the role of political orientation, and some of the elements necessary for an effective campaign. A content analysis of 746 comments is executed to investigate when woke advertisements perform well or are inefficient among consumers. Overall, the results suggest that 1 in 2 commenters is non-supportive to the approach, but the proportion changes depending on the campaign, usually representing more than half of the commenters. Comparisons show that highly provocative campaigns receive more backlash. It appears as different persuasion tactic knowledge can influence the response to the campaign, and criticism can come with the intention to boycott. Besides, the findings show that the likeability of the cause appears to be highly connected with the overall approval of the campaign, sometimes resulting in brand attitude changes. The political orientation also seems to have a role in the campaign's interpretation, with most of the conservatives in the non-supportive group. This study helps managers to understand the reactions to social justice advertisements, guiding about the specific conditions that should be fulfilled to maximize the effectiveness of this advertising technique among their target groups.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Strategic Marketing Management - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2020