This research provides insight into the complex relationship between consumer response to persuasion attempts and skepticism, suggesting that erstwhile targets may be swayed by campaigns pitched as a form of entertainment. The authors examine consumer responses to an important sponsorship-leveraging tool: sponsorship-linked advertising (SLA). A theoretical model of consumer response to SLA is proposed, drawing on important resistance mechanisms to persuasion, including ad skepticism, attributed advertiser motives, and the nature of thoughts. Results confirm existing research on consumer skepticism suggesting its transitory nature and hence potential for advertisers to strategically temper it through specific cues in ad execution. Differential processing between SLA and traditional advertising is supported, such that SLA elicits more favorable cognitive response.
Kelly and Coote are with the Business School, University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia. Cornwell is with the Charles H. Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR. McAlister is with the School of Business, Endicott College, Beverly, MA.