1. bookVolume 29 (2021): Issue 2 (June 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
30 Mar 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Should Advertisers Avoid Controversial TV Content? Female Viewer Loyalty and Purchase Intent in the Context of Targeted Sponsorship Vignettes

Published Online: 12 Jul 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 29 (2021) - Issue 2 (June 2021)
Page range: 2 - 32
Received: 09 Oct 2020
Accepted: 26 Mar 2021
Journal Details
First Published
30 Mar 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Purpose: This study aims to investigate whether controversial TV content impacts the effects of non – standard advertising such as sponsorship vignette among female viewers.

Methodology: The present study used two field experiments (n = 222; n = 219) conducted as a Computer­Assisted Web Interview (CAWI) questionnaire, during which video material was presented. The study manipulated controversial and non­controversial and the variable of congruence and incongruence – through the argument of video material in the form of TV programs and advertising spots.

Results: The empirical investigation revealed that controversial and incongruent content does not necessarily alter the effect of a sponsorship vignette. Loyal viewers who consistently follow programs were found to have higher purchase intent than less loyal ones.

Implications: The results suggest that advertisers should consider placing their messages in the context of controversial TV programming, which does not have to be congruent with the ads displayed.

Limitations: The stimuli applied in the studies were arbitrary, to a certain extent. The study did not investigate program’s about sex that fit the definition of controversiality.

Originality/value: The study contributes to the existing literature on ad–content congruence by investigating consumer responses to innovative ad format: the sponsorship vignette. We investigated how specific content watched in longer periods of time (i.e. a series) may impact the advertising effectiveness of embedded sponsorship vignettes. This approach allowed us to demonstrate the importance of viewers’ loyalty towards a TV program, resulting in a change of the level of purchase intent of advertised product.


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