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The Animosity Transfer Process: consumer denigration of foreign sponsors and testing potential mitigation strategies

The Animosity Transfer Process: consumer denigration of foreign sponsors and testing potential mitigation strategies
The Animosity Transfer Process: consumer denigration of foreign sponsors and testing potential mitigation strategies
Purpose: sponsorships involving foreign brands are ubiquitous, but those involving a company from an animosity-evoking country can adversely affect rather than enhance domestic consumers’ attitude towards the brand. This paper explains the mechanisms by which brand denigration occurs, introducing and validating a model of the animosity transfer process as well as considering if various framing and timing strategies attenuate or lead to adverse consumer responses.

Design/methodology/approach: study 1 tests the animosity transfer model, utilizing a scenario in which English consumers respond to a German brand sponsoring the England soccer team. Study 2 assesses the generalizability of the model in the context of Indian consumers’ responses to sponsorship of their cricket team by a Chinese company, and the extent to which an honest framing of the sponsorship choice through the announcement affects outcomes. Study 3 returns to an England-Germany country dyad, testing whether priming consumers with information about the sponsorship prior to a full announcement, attenuates or intensifies the impact of animosity on the studied outcomes.

Findings : the three studies demonstrate that when consumers learn of a sponsorship, it triggers an evaluation process in which the agonistic emotion (anger) they feel plays a pivotal role. More intense emotional appraisals weaken perceptions of sponsor-sponsee congruence, which together act as consecutive process variables mediating the relationship between animosity and sponsorship outcomes. Framing the sponsorship announcement with an honest justification for the partnership can improve outcomes but not amongst those with the highest animosity. Providing consumers with an advanced warning (preannouncement) of the sponsorship also amplifies consumers’ unfavorable evaluations showcasing how difficult animosity is to manage in this context.

Originality/value: the animosity transfer model aids understanding of the mechanisms by which animosity affects brand attitude for foreign (out-group) sponsors. It identifies how animosity generates agonistic emotions and in turn weakens perceived fit between the sponsor and sponsee, leading to adverse consumer responses.

Agonistic emotion, Animosity, Attitude, Fit, Framing, Sponsorship
0265-1335
1308-1330
Angell, Robert
ca8389e4-2a83-43a8-b331-c262eda37674
Bottomley, Paul
ad338c33-07bf-41db-af5d-71fb5dc9b335
Gorton, Matthew
c32c7dd8-19b7-48c5-89bc-8adfd63333ca
Marder, Ben
6c556d4a-af17-4625-b03b-fe84159fdf2d
Erz, Antonia
f0fa9fc3-2a65-4efb-94c9-e04b33554130
Angell, Robert
ca8389e4-2a83-43a8-b331-c262eda37674
Bottomley, Paul
ad338c33-07bf-41db-af5d-71fb5dc9b335
Gorton, Matthew
c32c7dd8-19b7-48c5-89bc-8adfd63333ca
Marder, Ben
6c556d4a-af17-4625-b03b-fe84159fdf2d
Erz, Antonia
f0fa9fc3-2a65-4efb-94c9-e04b33554130

Angell, Robert, Bottomley, Paul, Gorton, Matthew, Marder, Ben and Erz, Antonia (2021) The Animosity Transfer Process: consumer denigration of foreign sponsors and testing potential mitigation strategies. International Marketing Review, 38 (6), 1308-1330. (doi:10.1108/IMR-01-2021-0006).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose: sponsorships involving foreign brands are ubiquitous, but those involving a company from an animosity-evoking country can adversely affect rather than enhance domestic consumers’ attitude towards the brand. This paper explains the mechanisms by which brand denigration occurs, introducing and validating a model of the animosity transfer process as well as considering if various framing and timing strategies attenuate or lead to adverse consumer responses.

Design/methodology/approach: study 1 tests the animosity transfer model, utilizing a scenario in which English consumers respond to a German brand sponsoring the England soccer team. Study 2 assesses the generalizability of the model in the context of Indian consumers’ responses to sponsorship of their cricket team by a Chinese company, and the extent to which an honest framing of the sponsorship choice through the announcement affects outcomes. Study 3 returns to an England-Germany country dyad, testing whether priming consumers with information about the sponsorship prior to a full announcement, attenuates or intensifies the impact of animosity on the studied outcomes.

Findings : the three studies demonstrate that when consumers learn of a sponsorship, it triggers an evaluation process in which the agonistic emotion (anger) they feel plays a pivotal role. More intense emotional appraisals weaken perceptions of sponsor-sponsee congruence, which together act as consecutive process variables mediating the relationship between animosity and sponsorship outcomes. Framing the sponsorship announcement with an honest justification for the partnership can improve outcomes but not amongst those with the highest animosity. Providing consumers with an advanced warning (preannouncement) of the sponsorship also amplifies consumers’ unfavorable evaluations showcasing how difficult animosity is to manage in this context.

Originality/value: the animosity transfer model aids understanding of the mechanisms by which animosity affects brand attitude for foreign (out-group) sponsors. It identifies how animosity generates agonistic emotions and in turn weakens perceived fit between the sponsor and sponsee, leading to adverse consumer responses.

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Animosity_FINAL - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 7 April 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 August 2021
Keywords: Agonistic emotion, Animosity, Attitude, Fit, Framing, Sponsorship

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 449053
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/449053
ISSN: 0265-1335
PURE UUID: 96a47e4c-01d9-4326-b6e8-e8c906bfd398

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Date deposited: 14 May 2021 16:30
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 20:44

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Contributors

Author: Robert Angell
Author: Paul Bottomley
Author: Matthew Gorton
Author: Ben Marder
Author: Antonia Erz

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