Being Alone Deserves More Sympathy? Influences of Victim Number, Cause Acuteness and Individual Differences in Self-Construal on Charitable Advertising Effectiveness

Chang, C. T., Chen, Y. C., and Chang, C. H. 2022. Being Alone Deserves More Sympathy? Influences of Victim Number, Cause Acuteness and Individual Differences in Self-Construal on Charitable Advertising Effectiveness. NTU Management Review, 32 (2): 85-122. https://doi.org/10.6226/NTUMR.202208_32(2).0003

Chun-Tuan Chang, Department of Business Management, National Sun Yat-sen University
Yi-Chia Chen, Department of Business Management, National Sun Yat-sen University
Chia-Han Chang, Department of Business Management, National Sun Yat-sen University

Abstract

In the current research, we propose that the effect of victim number is subject to cause acuteness and individual differences in self-construal, and conduct three experiments to test our hypotheses. While Studies 1 and 3 both set in the non-profit context, Study 2 focuses on the context of cause-related marketing, in which the charitable campaign is initiated by a fictious company. In these three studies, we use a 2 (victim number: single vs. group) × 2 (cause acuteness: sudden disaster vs. ongoing tragedy) × 2 (self-construal: interdependent vs. independent) between-subjects design. The results reveal that when people with interdependent self-construal read a story of a sudden disaster depicting group victims, the advertising effectiveness is greater than the same story depicting a single victim. Meanwhile, we find opposite modes of operation on people with independent self-construal. Nonetheless, we find no such differences of self-construal when participants read a story of ongoing tragedy depicting either a single victim or group victims. Additionally, with the focus on investigating the role of guilt in Study 3, we prove that guilt is the underlying mechanism that explains the three-way interaction effect among victim number, cause acuteness and self-construal.  


Keywords

charity advertisingidentified victim effectcause acutenessself-construalguilty


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