Corporate social advocacy (CSA) is a growing communications practice that involves corporations taking a public stance on a controversial social issue. Some CSA campaigns have failed in the past (e.g., Pepsi's 2017 Live for Now Moments Anthem video) by generating public backlash and damaging corporate reputation. To test how to design CSA campaigns that are beneficial for both the corporation and the advocacy issue, the current between-subjects experiment (N = 508) employed a 2 (issue salience: moderate vs. high) X 2 (valence: negative vs. positive) X 2 (arousal: moderate vs. high) factorial design to test the effects of salience, valence, and arousal on memory and four persuasion outcomes: company attitudes, purchase intentions, political participation intentions, and social media intentions, while also analyzing the mediation of information processing. Findings support prior research suggesting that negative valence increases persuasion in CSA contexts. A high-salience issue and high-arousal language increased political participation and social media intentions but had no effect on company attitudes or purchase intentions. Practical implications for CSA campaign designers highlight the persuasive potential of negative valence in CSA messages, and the utility of high-salience and high-arousal for political action and social media engagement.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management