Cause-related Advertisements' Influence on Brand Image

Anne Kathrine Thye Rasmussen & Dea Svanholm

Student thesis: Master thesis


Increased focus on responsibility of today’s brands has resulted in advertising getting morefocused on topics of social causes and less centred on the product, imposing the question ofinfluence on brand image as constructed in the minds of consumers. This curiosity is wherethis thesis takes its offset by seeking to create a clearer understanding of how brand image isconstituted dependent on influence of two different commercials, more specifically for autilitarian product as those are considered to embody less emotional value since themotivation for purchase is based on basic needs. The brand that is under investigation isColgate and their utilitarian product of toothpaste.Keller’s (1993) conceptualized framework of brand image’s composition ofassociations has been used to guide both research design and analysis. In-depth interviewshave shed light on the complexity of associations that constitute brand image. Additionally,interviewees were to create brand concept maps instantly after exposure from a productcentric or cause-related commercial. The brand concept maps provided an illustration ofimmediate brand associations and helped simplify the complex constitution of brand image. Itwas found how attributes for interviewees were easily accessible features of Colgate’s brandimage, but the most frequent immediate associations were not perceived as unique at first.Interviewees did not assign any immediate value to them besides functionality and seemed toprimarily constitute cognitive attitudes. As conversation progressed and from a thoroughanalysis, the affective attitudes were accessed including the symbolic and experiential benefitsof the grooming ritual of a predictable everyday routine of getting ready and the attractivenessthat was connected with getting white teeth. This resulted in a more unique brand image forColgate compared to competitors. It was revealed how responsibility is demanded for brandshowever incorporating the cause-related commercials only created immediate affectiveattitudes among some interviewees thus diminishing quickly due to tenacious preconceptionof Colgate. Habitual behaviour is reluctant to change, as is Colgate’s preconceived brandimage, which was represented in the product-centric commercial. However the value ofColgate’s cause-related commercial might be embedded onto Colgate’s brand image throughsequential exposure to consumers.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages133