A path to altruism: Investigating the effects of brand origin and message explicitness in CR-M campaigns

Hongjoo Woo, Michelle Lynn Childs, Seeun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


An increasing number of fashion brands are employing cause-related marketing (CR-M) campaigns to promote their social responsibility. However, with growing consumer skepticism about CR-M, it is becoming more difficult than before to encourage consumers' positive responses to these campaigns. Based on construal level theory and rhetorical theory, this study examined the way brand origin (local vs. global), and its interaction with message type (explicit vs. implicit), influence consumers' perceived brand altruism and brand favorability. Two experimental studies were conducted with a total of 574 U.S. consumers. The results of Study 1 indicated that consumers exhibited higher perceived brand altruism and brand favorability toward a local brand's CR-M campaign than a global brand's, showing that psychological distance can influence a CR-M campaign's effectiveness. In addition, the results of Study 2 revealed that an explicit CR-M message was more effective for global brands, while an implicit message was more effective for local brands, and perceived brand altruism mediated both effects. This suggests the importance of framing messages according to brand origin to maximize CR-M campaigns' ability to achieve their goals effectively, in which perceived brand altruism plays a key role. The study's implications and limitations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-628
Number of pages12
JournalBusiness Ethics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this work was supported by the Brain Korea 21 Plus Project of the Department of Clothing and Textiles, Yonsei University in 2019 (2019-11-0026).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics


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