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Jungblut, Marc ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2677-0738 and Johnen, Marius (2021): When Brands (Don’t) Take My Stance: The Ambiguous Effectiveness of Political Brand Communication. In: Communication Research, Vol. 49, No. 8: pp. 1092-1117 [PDF, 166kB]


Brands increasingly take a stance on political issues, whereas consumers increasingly choose to either support a brand by buying their products (“buycotting”), or turn away from a brand (“boycotting”) for political reasons. While buycotts can be understood as a rewarding and cooperative form of mostly individual behavior, boycotts are a conflict-oriented form of collective punishment. Even though research has acknowledged these conceptual differences, studies have failed to analyze the difference in the absolute effect of consumers’ disapproval and approval. Moreover, research to date has not identified boundary conditions that might explain variation in the difference between consumers’ willingness to boycott or buycott. This research investigates this different effectiveness by conducting two experiments with different sets of brands, issues, and countries. Our results suggest that boycotting outweighs buycotting, implying that political brand communication is a risky strategy. Furthermore, we identify consumers’ political interest and category involvement as moderators of this imbalance.

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