Brand ads that incorporate social issues are becoming more prevalent. A subset of these messages can be referred to as alignment ads to reflect the organizational alignments that spawn them, often between the advertised brand and a charitable organization. This research applies schema theory to explore how viewers respond to these ads. Findings indicate that placing an issue in an ad offers important advantages for advertisers. Consistent with predictions from schema theory, congruent issue information elicits more positive affective and conative responses than incongruent issue information. Further, the inclusion of congruent issues in ads prompts greater recall of issue information. On the downside, however, results indicate that placing an issue in an ad may detract from information remembered about the brand. Finally, alignment ads performed similarly to publicity that linked a brand to an issue of social importance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas