_Poster: Brand Suitability: Understanding the Unintended Consequences of Adjacent Content on Brands in Digital Environments

Lauren Grewal, Dartmouth College

Poster Session Presentation

In this current work-in-progress research, the authors (Lauren Grewal, Andrew T. Stephen, and Prasad Vana) examine whether brands experience negative spillover effects from “unsafe” or “unsuitable” content that ends up being adjacent to their ads across various digital platforms (and if so, why this spillover occurs). Across various studies and digital platforms, the authors have found that when brand ads are near different types of “unsafe” or “unsuitable” content (e.g., negative news articles, videos, or ads regarding vaping), there are decreased perceptions of the brand in terms of a consumer’s perceived likelihood to purchase, share WOM, recommend the brand to others, etc. This negative spillover occurs due to decreased trust in the target brand despite consumers not inherently blaming brands for the adjacency of unsuited content. The authors have identified a few ways for brands to mitigate these negative effects (e.g., having higher brand equity, improving consumer perceptions of trustworthiness, having another party to blame for the adjacency of content like an influencer, etc.) and are still running experiments to determine for which types of brands this effect is strongest for, in which scenarios brands should be concerned about adjacent content or not, and ways to attenuate negative effects when they do occur. They are also still in the process of collecting brand safety and suitability incidents from the past few years to run numerous time-event studies to determine what type of negative repercussions occur most strongly for various incident types, learn more about which product or service categories should be most concerned, and to see the short versus long term effects of these incidents for both larger and smaller firms.

Related Conference

State of Marketing Science Summit: Marketing in Disruption

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