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  1. 1. Fortuitous Brand Image Transfer Investigating the Side Effect of Concurrent Sponsorships François A. Carrillat, Eric G. Harris, and Barbara A. Lafferty ABSTRACT: This study investigates the phenomenon of fortuitous brand image transfer, or image transfer that occurs by chance, between two brands sponsoring the same event concurrently (i.e., concurrent sponsorships). Two experiments show that concurrent sponsorships lead either to a transfer of image or to a contrast of image between sponsoring brands that are both familiar, depending on the similarity of their underlying brand concept. Image transfer occurs when the brand concepts of the two sponsors are similar, whereas image contrast occurs when the two sponsors have dissimilar brand concepts. Implications for branding and sponsorship research are provided, as well as recommendations for managers. Finally, directions for further research are suggested.It is quite common today to find a number of brands vying In concurrent sponsorships, managers often try to placefor positions as official sponsors of popular events ranging their brands among an advantageous set of sponsors; however,from the Olympic Games to the Fédération Internationale de they generally have little control over the sponsor selectionFootball Association (FIFA) World Cup. In fact, concurrent procedure, short of refusing the entry of other sponsors in thesponsorships, wherein a number of companies sponsor an event same product category. Therefore, central to our study is thesimultaneously, have become the norm. Although concurrent assertion that concurrent sponsorships can result in what wesponsorships are widespread, academic research into their refer to as the concurrent sponsorships side effect. This side effecteffectiveness lags well behind marketing practice, resulting has direct implications for sponsorship decisions because itin a number of gaps in the literature. For instance, extant implies that brands are affected not only by the perceivedresearch has focused nearly exclusively on solo sponsorship image of the sponsored event but also by the perceived imagessituations (e.g., Dean 2002; Gwinner and Eaton 1999; Rifon of the other brands concurrently sponsoring the event. As aet al. 2004; Roy and Cornwell 2003; Speed and Thompson consequence, both event-to-sponsor and sponsor-to-sponsor2000), and the few studies that have focused on concurrent associations are likely to occur. Event-to-sponsor associationssponsorships have yet to address a number of important issues. have been shown to lead to image transfer effects (i.e., GwinnerAccordingly, researchers have called for additional inquiry into and Eaton 1999). As we have noted, however, little is currentlythe effectiveness of concurrent sponsorships (e.g., Cornwell, known about sponsor-to-sponsor associations that result in aWeeks, and Roy 2005). fortuitous transference of brand images (i.e., between concurrent The current study addresses one gap in the sponsorship sponsors of the same event).literature by investigating how brands become associated with Our work is structured as follows. First, we discuss con-each other in consumers’ minds when they sponsor the same ceptual issues pertaining to concurrent sponsorships and theevent concurrently. Specifically, we examine how the images role of categorization theory in explaining image transferenceof concurrent sponsors are transferred between brands as a processes. Second, we present a series of hypotheses pertainingresult of their pairing with the same event. We also consider to image transfer and the moderating roles of brand familiaritythe roles of brand concept similarity and brand familiarity in and brand concept similarity. Third, we present the methodol-this transference process. ogy, the results of two experiments that test our hypotheses, and the implications of our findings. Finally, we discuss the limitations of our study and suggestions for further work inFrançois A. Carrillat (Ph.D., University of South Florida) is an this emerging area.assistant professor of marketing, HEC Montréal.Eric G. Harris (Ph.D., Oklahoma State University) is an associateprofessor and chairperson, Department of Management and Market-ing, Kelce College of Business, Pittsburg State University, Kansas.Barbara A. Lafferty (Ph.D., Florida State University) is an associ- The authors thank Donald P. Roy for comments on an earlier draftate professor of marketing, College of Business Administration, of this paper. All the authors contributed equally and are listedUniversity of South Florida. alphabetically. Journal of Advertising, vol. 39, no. 2 (Summer 2010), pp. 109–123. © 2010 American Academy of Advertising. All rights reserved. ISSN 0091-3367 / 2010 $9.50 + 0.00. DOI 10.2753/JOA0091-3367390208
  2. 2. 110  The Journal of Advertising CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND common and distinctive features weighted by the saliency of these features. Objects with common salient features areConcurrent Sponsorships seen as similar and are assigned to the same category, whereasIn concurrent sponsorships, sponsoring brands are often pre- objects with salient distinctive features are assigned to differ-sented together to consumers through side-by-side signage or ent categories. Objects assigned to the same category becomeinformation relayed by media about the event and its sponsors even more similar through an assimilation effect (Krueger and(Ruth and Simonin 2003, 2006). As such, sponsoring brands Clement 1994; Tajfel 1959).are paired together with simultaneous presentations in time Categorization theory has been applied to a number ofand space. These presentations lead consumers to associate marketing contexts. For example, in brand extensions, a newperceptions of one sponsoring brand with their perceptions product is categorized with the parent brand because of theirof the other(s). Therefore, two concurrent sponsors ultimately shared brand name (e.g., Honda cars and Honda motorcycles).involve a three-way image transference situation: from the This results in a transfer of image perceptions from the parentevent to sponsoring brand A, from the event to sponsoring brand to the extension product (e.g., Broniarczyk and Albabrand B, as well as between brands A and B. Image transfer 1994; Martin, Stewart, and Matta 2005). A brand alliance isbetween an event and a sponsor is evidenced by Gwinner and conceptually similar to concurrent sponsorships because inEaton (1999). Following their work, we assert that image both cases, the categorization process involves the associationtransfer occurs when the congruency between brand images of two or more unrelated brands together. Brand alliances canincreases due to a pairing process. be referred to as “composite brand extensions” (Park, Jun, and As noted, research pertaining to concurrent sponsorships Schocker 1996) wherein two companies with complementaryis scarce. Ruth and Simonin (2003) show that consumer atti- attribute levels cobrand a new product (e.g., Slim-Fast choco-tudes toward the concurrent sponsoring brands have a positive late cake mix by Godiva) or “advertising alliances” (Samu,impact on attitudes toward the sponsored event. While their Krishnan, and Smith 1999) wherein two manufacturers jointlywork highlights the positive effects of concurrent sponsor- appear in the same promotional campaign (e.g., Kellogg andships, it does not examine the impact of the event on the Tropicana products appearing in an advertisement). Relevantsponsoring brands or the impact of the sponsoring brands on to the current work is the finding that brand ratings and at-each other. Carrillat, Lafferty, and Harris (2005) do not find titudes are influenced by the association between cobrandsevidence that the effect of concurrent sponsorships is diluted (Simonin and Ruth 1998).(i.e., the positive impact of the event on brand attitudes andpurchase intentions is not weaker vis-à-vis a solo sponsorship), Image Transfer and Contrastbut their study does not investigate how concurrent sponsorsinfluence each other. Ruth and Simonin (2006) examine how Central to our study is the process of brand image transfer-the number of brands involved in concurrent sponsorships ence. The transfer of brand image is viewed as the process bymoderates the influence that inferred sponsors’ motives have which the meanings and symbols associated with one entityon attitude toward the event. However, this study also does become associated with another entity. This effect implies thatnot investigate the impact sponsors have on each other. Grohs, concurrent sponsorships allow leveraging a brand not only byWagner, and Vsetecka (2004) find evidence of image transfer the “borrowing” of an event’s image (Keller 2003), but also bybetween an event and concurrent sponsors, but again, do the “borrowing” of concurrent sponsors’ image(s). Note thatnot examine image transfer effects between sponsors. Work is image transfer occurs when the perceived congruency betweentherefore necessary that addresses this issue. entities increases due to pairing. Gwinner and Eaton (1999) examine image transfer in a soloCategorization Theory sponsorship. Defining image congruency as the “consistency between the event image and the brand image” (p. 53), theyCategorization theory provides the framework from which we find that the image congruency of a brand and an event isinvestigate image transfer in concurrent sponsorships. Accord- greater when the brand is sponsoring the event than when theing to this approach, people classify stimuli into categories brand is not sponsoring the event, implying that a transfer ofthat allow them to understand and treat information from their image takes place. The authors also find evidence of image con-environment in an efficient manner (e.g., Medin, Goldstone, trast. That is, the congruency between two entities dissimilarand Gentner 1993; Rosch and Mervis 1975). Similarity is a key to each other (e.g., the PGA Masters Tournament and Buschissue in categorization. Individuals tend to categorize similar beer) decreases when they are paired in a solo sponsorship. Inobjects together and to assign dissimilar objects to different the current study, a similar approach is adopted to capturecategories (e.g., Medin, Goldstone, and Gentner 1993). Ac- the image transfer/contrast that occurs between concurrentcording to Tversky (1977), object similarity depends on their sponsors.
  3. 3. Summer 2010  111Similarity Effects a familiar brand has a greater number of salient associations compared with a less familiar brand (e.g., Fazio 1986; KentAs noted above, Gwinner and Eaton (1999) show that the and Allen 1994; Simonin and Ruth 1998).image congruency between an event and its sponsor increases Although the effect of brand familiarity on informationwhen they have a high degree of similarity, whereas when that processing and brand evaluation has been supported in previoussimilarity is low, the event–sponsor congruency decreases. works (e.g., Alba and Hutchinson 1987; Hoeffler and KellerThe meaning of similarity is highly context dependent, as it 2003; Lafferty and Goldsmith 2005), the role of familiarityrequires a frame of reference, a basis on which stimuli can be as a moderator of image transfer has yet to be examined. Weassessed (Goodman 1972; Murphy and Medin 1985). note that familiarity may be conceptualized on a continuum. In brand extension research, different bases of similarity Familiar brands are very well-known brands with whichhave been evoked. Some studies rely on feature-based similarity consumers have had the highest degree of direct and indirect(e.g., Aaker and Keller 1990), illustrated by Ivory soap extend- experience, whereas less familiar brands are relatively unfa-ing into the shampoo category because both shampoo and soap miliar to consumers, whereby they have had less experiencehave cleaning features. Other researchers refer to similarity as with them.the degree of surprise created by the extension (Lane 2000).Still others conceptualize similarity as the explanatory “fit”between the parent brand and the extension category (Bridges, HYPOTHESES DEVELOPMENTKeller, and Sood 2000). Therefore, similarity is rooted in some Image Congruency and Similarityfeatures of the brands (e.g., Hershey’s and Godiva both con-tain cocoa), but it includes symbolic meanings as well (e.g., Drawing from categorization theory and previous work onGatorade and Nike are both associated with competitiveness) brand alliances and extensions, it is expected that when two(Park, Milberg, and Lawson 1991). brands with similar concepts engage in concurrent sponsor- The basis for similarity in our study is the underlying con- ships, they will be categorized together if they are both familiarcept of the entity, that is, the brand or the event. Brand concept due to the high saliency of their common features (Aaker andis defined as the abstract symbols associated with a brand, Keller 1990; Boush and Loken 1991; Martin and Stewart 2001;which originate from a firm’s effort to create meanings from Simonin and Ruth 1998). That is, when consumers perceivethe brand’s features (Park, Milberg, and Lawson 1991). Thus, similarity between brands that are familiar, an assimilation ef-brand concept similarity encompasses both feature-based and fect will occur and their images will become more congruent assymbolic meanings, and offers a more holistic, abstract, per- a result of sponsorship pairing. In a solo sponsorship situation,spective on similarity, which can be captured through global, only one of the brands sponsors the event and the categoriza-or holistic, measures (Martin and Stewart 2001). Brand concept tion of both brands together does not take place. Therefore,similarity is especially relevant for the current study because the images of the brands will not be transferred between eachsponsors can often refuse the entry of sponsors from the same other. If the brands are less familiar, they will not be subject toproduct category. Therefore, concurrent sponsorships are un- categorization due to the low saliency of their images. That is,likely to include two brands having similar product features although they possess common features, their lack of saliencyor functionalities. However, two brands with different features in consumers’ memory does not represent sufficiently strongcan be seen as similar based on their overall concepts and may stimuli to allow categorization, which will hamper imagebe categorized together. For instance, Jeep and Marlboro could transfer. As such, the following hypotheses are presented:be seen as similar due to their positioning as outdoorsy and H1a: The image congruency between two familiar brands withmasculine. similar concepts will be greater when both brands are concur‑ rent sponsors of an event than when one of the brands is a soloBrand Familiarity sponsor of that event.Brand familiarity is another important concept in image trans- H1b: The image congruency between two less familiar brandsfer processes that results from the extent to which consumers with similar concepts will not be significantly different whenexperience a product or a brand in a direct (e.g., product usage) both brands are concurrent sponsors of an event compared withor indirect (e.g., advertising) way (e.g., Alba and Hutchinson when one of the brands is a solo sponsor of that event.1987; Kent and Allen 1994). These experiences lead consumersto form associations (e.g., images, attitudes, beliefs) with the Image Congruency and Dissimilaritybrand, which contribute to their overall “brand knowledge”(Campbell and Keller 2003; Keller 2003). It is important In this research, brand dissimilarity is defined as the extent toto note that a consumer’s cognitive structure representing which the underlying concept of brands A and B are unrelated
  4. 4. 112  The Journal of Advertising(i.e., they do not share abstract symbolic meanings). According tions imply that one or both sponsoring brand(s) was (were)to Mandler (1982), incongruity between stimuli will result familiar, depending on the sponsorship condition (i.e., soloin the activation of a different set of cognitive associations for versus concurrent). In the solo sponsorship conditions, concepteach stimulus, which leads to the creation of ad hoc categor- similarity refers only to the similarity between the event andies rather than the categorization of the two brands together. the sponsoring brand, whereas in the concurrent-sponsorshipsTherefore, in concurrent sponsorships, two brands with dis- conditions, concept similarity refers to the similarity betweensimilar concepts will be assigned to different categories. As a the two concurrent sponsoring brands, as well as between theconsequence, and consistent with accentuation effects (Krueger brand from the corresponding solo sponsorship condition andand Clement 1994; Tajfel 1959), the images of two familiar the event. In other words, when brands A and B are concurrentbut dissimilar brands will contrast in concurrent sponsor- sponsors of an event and the comparison condition is the soloships. In solo sponsorship, since only one brand is perceptually sponsorship of that event by brand A, if A and B have similaraccessible, they will not be assigned to different categories. concepts, the concept of brand A is also similar to that of theTherefore, the brands will not be subject to accentuation and event. This ensured that event and brand image transfer weretheir congruency will not be negatively affected. not confounded. On the other hand (and consistent with H1b), less familiar To obtain a measure of image transfer between brands,brands will not be salient enough to be subject to categoriza- the image congruency of the two sponsoring brands (i.e., intion (Tversky 1977). Therefore, in concurrent sponsorships, concurrent sponsorships) is compared to their image congru-less familiar brands with dissimilar concepts are unlikely to ency when only one of the brands is a sponsor (i.e., in a solobe assigned to different categories. As a result, accentuation sponsorship). Note that it is necessary to prevent event towill not occur and no contrast effect will happen (Krueger and brand image transfer from influencing the image congruencyClement 1994; Tajfel 1959). Thus: between the two brands. This potential confounding effect is controlled through a covariance procedure that isolates image H2a: The image congruency between two familiar brands with transfer taking place between the two brands only. dissimilar concepts will be lower when both brands are concur‑ rent sponsors of an event than when one of the brands is a solo sponsor of that event. Pretests H2b: The image congruency between two less familiar brands Two pretests were conducted to select a well-known event and with dissimilar concepts will not be significantly different when brands with varying degrees of familiarity and similarity to one both brands are concurrent sponsors of an event compared with another and the event. The pretested stimuli were real to make when one of the brands is a solo sponsor of that event. sure they possessed enough meaning for consumers so that image transfer could reasonably be assessed. As a result, “less familiar” STUDY 1 rather than “unfamiliar” brands were pretested so that experi- mental stimuli would have a minimum level of saliency.An experiment was conducted to investigate fortuitous imagetransfer and contrast in concurrent sponsorships. Across solo Pretest 1and concurrent-sponsorships conditions, the degree of famil-iarity, as well as the degree of similarity of the brands, were Thirty undergraduate students indicated how familiar theymanipulated. Two hundred and ninety-eight undergraduate were with a pool of major sporting events using a three-item,students from a large state university took part in the study seven-point semantic differential scale (Kent and Allen 1994)for in-class extra credit. Thirteen cases were dropped from the (very unfamiliar/very familiar; very inexperienced/very expe-analysis due to excessive level of missing data, resulting in a rienced; not knowledgeable/very knowledgeable). The reli-final sample size of 285, with cell sizes ranging from n = 33 ability (α = .72) and unidimensionality of this measure wereto n = 41 (average age = 23 years; 50.7% female). acceptable, and a familiarity index was calculated by averaging the scale’s items. The Olympic Games exhibited a very highDesign and Experimental Treatments familiarity with the student population and were therefore selected as the event (MOlympics = 5.28 versus MTour de France = 3.33;A 2 × 2 × 2 between-subject, factorial design was conducted MFIFA World Cup Soccer = 3.52; MNBA = 4.74).by manipulating sponsorship type (solo versus concurrent),brand concept (similar versus dissimilar), and brand familiarity Pretest 2(familiar versus less familiar). Solo sponsorship refers to condi-tions in which only one of the two brand sponsors the event, Four types of brands were needed. Each type required differ-whereas concurrent sponsorships refers to conditions in which ent characteristics in terms of their degree of familiarity andthe two brands concurrently sponsor the event. Familiar condi- concept similarity with other concurrent sponsoring brands
  5. 5. Summer 2010  113 Table 1 Brands Used in Experiment 1: Manipulation Checks of Characteristics Propel Fitness Red Pert Natural Gatorade Nike Water Bull Budweiser Shampoo LightFamiliarity Familiar Familiar Less Less Familiar Less Less familiar familiar familiar familiarMean familiarity 5.74 5.59 3.89 4.19 5.26 4.55 4.24 (.17) (.21) (.31) (.28) (.26) (.28) (.39)Concept relative to Similar Similar Similar Similar Dissimilar Dissimilar Dissimilar  Olympic GamesMean concept similarity 4.79 4.94 4.57 3.41 2.83 2.91 2.67  with Olympic Games (.29) (.21) (.26) (.23) (.21) (.27) (.29)Concept relative to Similar Similar Similar Similar Dissimilar Dissimilar Dissimilar  other brand(s), Nike Gatorade Red Propel Gatorade Natural Pert  brand name Bull Light ShampooMean concept similarity 5.29 5.29 3.71 3.71 2.74 2.52 2.52  with the other brand (.24) (.24) (.29) (.29) (1.53) (.25) (.25)Notes: Boldface items indicate a “high” value on the characteristic considered. Standard errors are in parentheses.as well as with the Olympics (familiar and similar; less fa- (dissimilar with the Olympics and Pert Shampoo). Ideally, anmiliar and similar; familiar and dissimilar; less familiar and eighth brand, familiar but dissimilar with the Olympics anddissimilar; see Table 1). It was important that the similarity Budweiser, would have been included in the “familiar andbetween the Olympics and the brands in a given condition dissimilar” condition with Budweiser. However, no brand cor-matches the similarity between the brands in order to avoid responded to these criteria out of the 14 that were pretested.confound effects. It was therefore decided to use Gatorade in the “familiar and A first focus group with 30 undergraduate students yielded similar” as well as the “familiar and dissimilar” conditions,30 brands relevant to them that matched the predefined char- although Gatorade is not dissimilar to the Olympic Gamesacteristics. They were further reduced to 14 brands during a (it is, however, dissimilar to Budweiser; see Table  1). It issecond focus group with 57 undergraduate students. Finally, important to note that we covaried out the similarity between30 undergraduate students rated the familiarity of the brands each of the brand’s concepts and the Olympic Games’ conceptas well as the concept similarity between each pair of brands when testing for the hypotheses involving dissimilar brandsand between each brand and the Olympic Games. in order for the relationship between the event and each brand Event–brand concept similarity was assessed using a seven- to be homogeneous.point Likert-type scale via the following item (Gwinner andEaton 1999): “The ideas I associate with [brand X] are related Procedureto the ideas I associate with the [event Z].” The item “The ideasI associate with [brand X] are related to the ideas I associate Each participant received a booklet with two ads and twowith [brand Y]” was used for brand–brand concept similar- articles about the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Ads andity. These items measured the abstract notions respondents mock articles are often used in experimental sponsorship re-assigned to the brands and the event consistently with Martin search (e.g., Gwinner and Eaton 1999; Johar and Pham 1999;and Stewart’s (2001) view on the abstractness of concept Roy and Cornwell 2003). All the factors were manipulatedsimilarity. All the brands were then classified in a high or low between-subject; therefore, for each respondent, the two targetgroup on each measure with a median split. ads and the two target articles contained the same manipula- Finally, seven brands that satisfied each brand type criteria tion. Two different media (ads and mock press articles) werewere selected for the experimental treatments (see Table 1). used as experimental treatments to make sure participantsThe familiar brands were Gatorade (similar with the Olympics were cognizant of the concurrent sponsorships and becauseand Nike), Nike (similar with the Olympics and Gatorade), consumers are likely to be exposed to several avenues promot-and Budweiser (dissimilar with the Olympics and Gatorade), ing the sponsorship in a real setting. Two filler ads also ap-while the less familiar brands were Propel Fitness water peared between the treatment ads and the articles to minimize(similar with the Olympics and Red Bull), Red Bull (similar hypothesis guessing. The treatment ads contained the logo ofwith the Olympics and Propel), Pert Shampoo (dissimilar the Olympic Games, the location, and the year (i.e., Athenswith the Olympics and Natural Light), and Natural Light 2004). These two ads contained pictures of different sporting
  6. 6. 114  The Journal of Advertisingactivities that are typical of the Olympic Games’ competitions measured between each brand and the Olympic Games as aand different statements about the Games. Each treatment ad control variable.was identical in design and text across all conditions exceptfor the inclusion (or exclusion) of a sponsor(s), its name, its Resultslogo and ad copy such as: “Gatorade is a proud sponsor of the2004 ATHENS Olympic Games.” The articles provided had Manipulation Checksdifferent topics; one was about the Olympic flame and the otherabout the surge in the local economy due to the Games. The As shown in Table 1, the familiar brands were significantlyarticles were identical across conditions except for the name(s) more familiar than the less familiar ones (t‑values ranging fromof the sponsoring brand(s) mentioned. Note that two sponsors 3.31 to 11.02; ps < .02). Also, note that among the familiar(with their names, logos, and ad copies) were included in the brands, none was more familiar than the others (t‑valuesads and articles in the concurrent-sponsorships conditions, ranging from –.56 to –1.55; ps > .1) and that, among the lesswhile only one was included in the ads and articles in the solo familiar brands, the level of familiarity was homogeneous assponsorship conditions. well (t‑values ranging from –.11 to –1.56; ps > .1). In addi- After viewing the ads and the articles, participants com- tion, the brands similar to the event had higher similaritypleted scales measuring the image congruency between the ratings than the brands dissimilar to the event (t‑values rang-brands (used for the computation of image transfer) as well as ing from 3.02 to 16.95; ps < .01), while the brands similar tothe image congruency between each brand and the Olympic the other concurrent sponsoring brand had higher similarityGames (used as covariates to remove confounds from the event). ratings than the dissimilar brands (t‑values ranging fromParticipants were randomly assigned to one of the experimental 2.58 to 7.06; ps < .01). The open-ended question revealed noconditions and were told that the study investigated students’ hypothesis guessing.reactions to advertisements. Operationalization of Image TransferDependent Measures Image transfer taking place between two sponsoring brandsImage transfer and contrast both result from the same construct was operationalized as the increased holistic congruency ofof image congruency. Image transfer/contrast is determined by the brands’ images that results from both brands sponsoringcomparing the congruency between the images of two brands the same event concurrently. Therefore, holistic congruencyacross sponsorship conditions. Image transfer (contrast) is between the two brands was measured in both the solo andpresent when image congruency increases (decreases) in con- the concurrent-sponsorships conditions. To illustrate, thecurrent sponsorships compared with a solo sponsorship. Sirgy congruency between brands A and B in the condition whereet al. (1997) propose a holistic measure of image congruency only one of them is a sponsor of the Olympics is comparedthat consists of a direct, global evaluation of the congruency with their congruency in the condition where both are spon-between two entities, which is also used by Gwinner and sors of the Olympics.Eaton (1999) in their image transfer study. We adopted this Because an event’s image can be transferred to its sponsorapproach and measured the holistic congruency between the (i.e., Gwinner and Eaton 1999), we controlled for this effecttwo brands, A and B. between the Olympics and brand A or B by covarying the Participants read a series of paragraphs like this: “Take a image transferred from the event to the brands out of themoment to think about Brand X. Think about the various congruency between the two brands. In an analysis of covari-images and experiences one would encounter when they used ance (ANCOVA), the adjusted means are those that would beproducts/services of Brand X. Imagine Brand X in your mind obtained if the mean covariate(s) were the same in all the cellsand then describe it using several adjectives such as: exciting, (Wildt and Ahtola 1978). By holding constant the image con-traditional, young, conservative, sexy, or whatever adjectives gruency between the event and the brands across conditions,you think describe the image of Brand X.” One paragraph the ANCOVA isolates the increase in the image congruencyfor each brand was included in the questionnaire. Then re- between two brands that is solely due to the influence thespondents answered the following two items using a Likert- brands have on one another (i.e., fortuitous image transfer).type scale anchored from 1 = strongly agree to 7 = strongly Therefore, an improved congruency between brands A and Bdisagree: (1) “1—My image of Brand X is consistent with cannot be due to an increased congruency between brand Amy image of brand Y,” and (2) “2—How I see Brand X is and the event or brand B and the event. Note that a smallersimilar to how I see Brand Y.” A smaller score indicates less adjusted holistic congruency mean score in the concurrent-discrepancy between the images of the brands and, therefore, sponsorships condition than in the solo sponsorship conditiongreater image congruency. Holistic congruency was also indicates image transfer.
  7. 7. Summer 2010  115 Table 2 Experiment 1: Raw and Adjusted Mean Holistic Congruency Between Pairs of Brands as a Function of Sponsorship Type, Concept Similarity, and Brand Familiarity Similar brand concept Dissimilar brand concept Raw means Adjusted means Raw means Adjusted means Solo Concurrent Solo Concurrent Solo Concurrent Solo ConcurrentFamiliar 5.83 3.53 5.66 3.61 5.34 5.84 4.94 6.18  brands (.25) (.27) (.25) (.24) (.21) (.20) (.25) (.23)Less familiar 4.91 4.43 4.97 4.37 4.98 5.31 5.02 5.26  brands (.28) (.28) (.26) (.25) (.24) (.27) (.25) (.25)Note: Standard errors are in parentheses. In the dissimilar concept conditions, the possibility that a directional F‑tests, setting p  =  2(α) in all the ANCOVAscontrast effect occurring between the brands could be due to (Keppel 1982). In the analyses of directional hypotheses,the different concept similarity they exhibit with the event significance was therefore set at p = 2(.05) = .10 (i.e., halvedcannot be ruled out (e.g., Gatorade and Budweiser have dif- p‑values are reported).ferent brand concepts, but Gatorade is similar to the eventwhereas Budweiser is dissimilar to the event). Therefore, Hypothesis 1: Similar Concepts. The image congruency betweenconcept similarity between the event and both brands was two familiar brands with similar concepts (Gatorade and Nike)controlled in the dissimilar concept conditions by including was expected to increase due to their concurrent sponsorshipsthese measures as additional covariates in the analyses. of the Olympic Games. The holistic image measure indicated The two items of the holistic image measure had an ac- that congruency was greater when both Gatorade and Nikeceptable level of internal consistency (r = .82), and they were sponsored the Olympic Games than when only Gatorade was aaveraged to compute a congruency index that was entered into sponsor, Mconcurrent = 3.61 versus Msolo = 5.66; F(1, 65) = 34.44,an ANCOVA. Results showed that the covariates “congruency p < .001, partial η2 = 34.6%. Thus, H1a was supported. Thisbetween brand A and the event,” F(1, 275) = 28.66, p < .001, indicated a fortuitous transfer of image between Gatorade andpartial η2 = 9.4%, as well as “congruency between brand B Nike due to their concurrent sponsorships. The congruency be-and the event,” F(1, 275) = 7.14, p < .001, partial η2 = 2.5%, tween two less familiar brands with similar images (Propel andhad a significant impact on the dependent variable. Therefore, Red Bull) was not expected to be affected by the concurrent-accounting for the event’s impact on the sponsoring brands’ sponsorships manipulation. However, image congruencyimages was justified. In addition, the main effects of the in- was greater in the concurrent sponsorships than in the solodependent variables (i.e., sponsorship type, brand similarity, sponsorship condition, Mconcurrent = 4.37 versus Msolo = 4.97;and familiarity) were qualified by their significant three-way F(1, 65) = 2.71, p = .05, partial η2 = 3.8%. This revealed ainteraction, F(1, 275) = 7.13, p < .001, partial η2 = 2.5%. As transfer of image between the brands; H1b was rejected.predicted, the impact of concept similarity on image transferacross sponsorship conditions depends on the familiarity ofthe sponsoring brands. Hypothesis 2: Dissimilar Concepts. The congruency between To specifically test the hypotheses, follow-up ANCOVAs two familiar brands with dissimilar concepts (Gatorade and(using the covariates previously mentioned) were conducted Budweiser) was expected to decrease in the case of concur-to compare the appropriate cells on the adjusted means (see rent sponsorships. Gatorade and Budweiser’s images wereTable  2). When empirical predictions are directional and less congruent in the concurrent-sponsorships condition thanformulated in terms of differences between two means, the in the solo sponsorship condition, Mconcurrent  =  6.18 versusp‑value obtained from an F‑test corresponds to the p‑value Msolo = 4.94; F(1, 70) = 9.77, p < .01, partial η2 = 12.2%, infor a two-tailed t‑test (Levine and Banas 2002). In this case, a support of H2a. This revealed a contrast of image between thedirectional F‑test can be performed by doubling the nominal brands. The congruency between two less familiar brands withlevel of a regular F‑test, which is statistically equivalent to dissimilar images (Pert Shampoo and Natural Light) was notlocating the entire level in the tail of a t‑distribution (one- expected to be affected by their concurrent sponsorships, whichtailed test), thereby allowing for improved statistical power was confirmed by the results (H2b), Mconcurrent = 5.26 versus(Keppel 1982; Mohr 1990). We followed this logic and used Msolo = 5.02; F(1, 60) = .46, p = .50, partial η2 = .8%.
  8. 8. 116  The Journal of AdvertisingDiscussion (i.e., a “neutral” image—the less familiar brands). In addition, because specific image dimensions were manipulated, imageResults from Study 1 support our assertion that the images of transfer had to be captured on these dimensions. Therefore,two familiar brands concurrently sponsoring the same event brand image was operationalized through image dimensioncan be transferred between each other when they have similar measures. Similarity, again, was manipulated via the underly-concepts, whereas their images contrast when they have dif- ing concept of the brands and the event.ferent concepts. Note that a transfer effect was also found forthe less familiar but similar brands, Propel and Red Bull. Even Overview and Designif they were less familiar than Gatorade and Nike, a subsetof respondents may have been familiar enough with them, The respondents were split between the concurrent-spon-leading to image transfer. When comparing image transfer sorships condition and a no-sponsorship condition. All thefor the group of respondents whose average familiarity with respondents were first exposed to eight brands, among whichRed Bull and Propel was above the median (n = 35) with a four were characterized by either an “exciting” or a “sincere”group whose average familiarity with both brands was below image and four had a neutral image. Respondents in thethe median (n = 38), only the familiar respondents exhibited concurrent-sponsorships condition were also exposed to aimage transfer, familiar: Mconcurrent = 4.08 versus Msolo = 5.15; “sophisticated” sporting event (Aaker 1997). It was impor-F(1, 29) = 3.42, p < .05, partial η2 = 10.5%; less familiar: tant for the event’s image to be distinctive from the imagesMconcurrent = 4.57 versus Msolo = 4.91; F(1, 32) = .41, p = .53, of the brands to avoid confounds when testing image transferpartial η2  =  1.2%. Some respondents held salient enough among the brands.perceptions about the brands to trigger image transfer. The image dimensions “sincere,” “exciting,” and “sophisti- Furthermore, the congruency between the event and the cated” from Aaker’s (1997) brand personality scale were usedbrands was covaried out, but it could not prevent the con- to operationalize brand image because they represent most ofgruency between the brands themselves to be affected by the the variance in brand personality ratings (Johar, Sengupta, andevent in solo sponsorship compared with an absence of sponsor- Aaker 2006). Two brands conveyed a “sincere” image and twoships. Therefore, the solo sponsorship conditions could have conveyed an “exciting” image through four different venues“artificially” decreased the congruence between Gatorade and on their Web page: (1) brand name (e.g., “trust” for a sincereNike, or the incongruence between Gatorade and Budweiser, brand), (2) product information (e.g., “has always stood outwhich was then brought back to its original level by the con- by its expression of a peerless attitude” for an exciting brand),current sponsorships. To remedy these issues, a second study (3) tag line (e.g., “Trust Near Your Home” for a sincere brand),was undertaken. and (4) logo (e.g., use of flashy graphics for exciting brands versus more sober colors and shapes for sincere brands). Several STUDY 2 venues were used to induce high situational accessibility for the manipulated image. In addition, four brands conveyed aStudy 2 relied on fictitious stimuli to more precisely calibrate neutral image as the venues on their Web pages were tonedtheir familiarity and images. In addition, the control group was down significantly by being descriptive only: (1) brand namesa “no sponsorship” situation to rule out spurious transfer or (e.g., “The Footwear Store”), (2) product information (e.g.,contrast effects due to the impact of the event on the between- “SportFit proposes an entire line of sportswear in all sizes andbrands congruency in solo sponsorships. The predictions tested colors,” (3) tag line (e.g., “Many Choices”), (4) logo (e.g., theyin Study 2 are the same as those from Study 1; therefore, hy- simply consisted of the brands’ names in a black Times Newpotheses were also tested using directional tests at p = 2(α) on Roman font on a white background).the adjusted means. Because the control group does not include In a pretest, 30 undergraduate students rated fictitiousany sponsoring brand, however, the concurrent-sponsorships brands and different versions of a fictitious sporting eventcondition is compared to a condition where the brands are on the “sincere,” “exciting,” and “sophisticated” dimensionspresent, but not as sponsors, because there is no event. Eight by indicating on a seven-point scale the extent to which abrands were included in order for the concurrent-sponsorships series of adjectives described them “very well” or “not at all”manipulation to be more ecologically valid in line with the (e.g., “honest” and “sincere” [sincerity]; “cool” and “young”latest studies on sponsorships that involved multiple brands [exciting]; “glamorous” and “good looking” [sophisticated]).concurrently (i.e., Ruth and Simonin 2006). Familiarity was Some brands had the same “sport” concept as the event (i.e.,manipulated by first educating respondents about eight new sports-related products), whereas other brands had unrelated(i.e., fictitious) brands among which four had one salient im- “no sport” concepts (i.e., products unrelated to sports).age dimension (i.e., “sincerity” or “excitement”—the familiar Ultimately, four “sport” and four “no sport” brands as wellbrands) and four did not have any salient image dimension as an event that was associated with a specific image were
  9. 9. Table 3 Experiment 2: Characteristics of Brands Used Boston Massachusetts GreatBags SportFit Bookstore Footwear Night-Club Fitness Bank & Trust GlissadeConcept Nonsport Sport Nonsport Sport Nonsport Sport Nonsport SportFamiliarity Less familiar Less familiar Less familiar Less familiar Familiar Familiar Familiar FamiliarBrand image Neutral Neutral Neutral Neutral Exciting Sincere Sincere ExcitingMean excitement 2.99 3.31 2.08 2.70 5.69 4.08 3.31 5.67 (.26) (.20) (.26) (.26) (.14) (.22) (.22) (.14)Mean sincerity 2.41 3.51 3.31 3.17 3.57 5.06 5.05 4.36 (.25) (.16) (.34) (.24) (.16) (.14) (.18) (.17)Mean sophistication 2.26 2.25 2.25 1.92 4.03 3.79 3.48 3.74 (1.47) (.97) (1.58) (.96) (1.27) (1.31) (1.27) (1.31)Concept relative to Dissimilar Similar Dissimilar Similar Dissimilar Similar Dissimilar Similar  “sport”Mean concept similarity 1.25 5.98 1.08 4.78 1.69 5.81 1.15 6.23  with “sport” (.08) (.17) (.04) (.23) (.15) (.16) (.11) (.12)Notes: Boldface indicate a “high” value on the characteristic considered. Standard errors are in parentheses. Summer 2010  117
  10. 10. 118  The Journal of Advertisingselected (see Table 3). The “sport” brands were “Glissade” (i.e., The Concurrent-Sponsorships Manipulationexciting), “Fitness” (i.e., sincere), “Footwear,” and “SportFit”(i.e., neutral). The “no sport” brands were “Night-Club” Respondents were given one of the two sponsorship ma-(i.e., exciting), “Massachusetts Bank” (i.e., sincere), “Boston nipulations before the exposure phase. Respondents in theBookstore,” and “GreatBags” (i.e., neutral). The 2005 Boston concurrent-sponsorships condition read a two-paragraph state-Golf Tournament was the chosen event. In the similar concept ment indicating the eight target brands would all be sponsorscondition, both brands had either a “sport” concept or a “no of the 2005 Boston Golf Tournament, support the event, andsport” concept, whereas in the dissimilar concept condition, participate in activities before, during, and after the event. Inone of the brands had a “sport” concept while the other brand addition, there was an illustration at the bottom of the pagehad a “no sport” concept. of the signage at the event where logos of the event and of the There are several points to consider. All the “exciting” sponsoring brands could be seen together. Respondents in thebrands had greater “excitement” ratings than did the “sincere” no-sponsorship condition read a statement mentioning thebrands or the less familiar (i.e., neutral) brands. All the “sincere” brands were arbitrarily chosen from a pool of brands conduct-brands had greater “sincerity” ratings than did the “exciting” ing test markets in a remote part of the United States.brands or the less familiar brands (t‑values from 4.06 to 11.54,ps < .01). In addition, the exciting brands had greater “excite- Target and Foil Brands Exposurement” ratings than “sincerity” or “sophistication” ratings,whereas the sincere brands had greater “sincerity” ratings than Respondents were provided with a copy of a one-page excerpt“excitement” or “sophistication” ratings (t‑values from 3.39 to of the Web site of each of the four exciting/sincere brands as10.41, ps < .01). The selected version of the event had greater well as of the four neutral brands (in the concurrent-sponsor-sophistication ratings (M = 5.26, SE [standard error] = 1.47) ships condition, an excerpt of the Web site of the 2005 Bostonthan the sincere, exciting, or neutral brands (t‑values from Golf Tournament was also provided). Half the brands had2.79 to 9.43, ps < .01). The exciting brands had higher rat- “sport” concepts, and the other half had “no sport” concepts.ings on the “excitement” dimension than the sincere brands Respondents were asked to familiarize themselves with thedid on the “sincerity” dimension (Night-Clubexciting  =  5.69 material at their own pace. The sequence of presentation of theand Glissadeexciting  =  5.67 versus Massachusettssincere  =  5.05, stimuli was alternated within each condition to avoid ordert = 2.86, p < .01 and t = 3.07, p < .01, respectively; versus effects. Six fictitious foil brands were also presented to theFitnesssincere = 5.06, t = 2.81, p = .01 and t = 2.48, p = .02, respondents with a one-page excerpt of their Web site. Tworespectively). Finally, each brand from the similar group had of the foil brands had a “sincere” image, two had an “excit-a higher concept similarity with the notion of “sport” than ing” image, and the other two had a “sophisticated” imagedid the brands from the dissimilar group (t‑values from 10.82 (determined via pretest).to 41.77, ps < .01). Filler TaskProcedure Respondents first memorized a series of paired associationsOne hundred and twelve undergraduate students from a large between the brand names and various words. Next, they werestate university received extra credit for participating in this asked to search a letter matrix for the names of Fortune 500experiment. They were randomly assigned to a 2 (sponsor- CEOs before being asked to recall the words previously asso-ship: concurrent versus no) × 2 (brand concept: sport versus ciated with the brands (with the brand name as a cue) and tono sport) × 2 (brand familiarity: familiar versus less familiar) recognize the correct tag line of the brands. This was designedmixed-measures design with repeated measures on the last to avoid having respondents switch immediately from brandtwo factors. A counterbalancing factor was also included that exposure to brand ratings and also hypothesis guessing.had no impact on the results. Respondents were told theywere participating in a study of Web site quality for new Dependent Variables and Manipulation Checksbrands. They received a booklet that educated them aboutthe images of the target and foil brands, led them through a Respondents rated the “sincerity,” “excitement,” and “so-distraction task, and asked them to rate the brands’ images phistication” for the eight target brands using the same twoon the “sincere,” “exciting,” and “sophisticated” dimensions. adjectives per dimension as in the pretest. In addition, theyEight respondents were dropped due to excessive missing data. indicated the extent to which each brand was related to theThis resulted in a sample of 104 respondents (control group notion of “sport” on a two-item, seven-point Likert-type scalen = 57; concurrent sponsorships n = 47). (e.g., “I associate [brand X] with the idea of sports”).
  11. 11. Summer 2010  119Results that the exciting brands had higher ratings on the “excite- ment” dimension than did the sincere brands on the “sincer-Operationalization of Image Congruency ity” dimension. Based on image saliency, this suggests thatand Manipulation Checks there was more image transfer potential on the exciting thanThe congruency between two brands in Study 2 was operation- on the sincere dimension. This also suggests that the direc-alized as the absolute difference between the brands’ average tion of transfer was from the exciting to the sincere brandsimage ratings on the corresponding items for both the “sincer- since “exciting” was a salient dimension for “Glissade” andity” and “exciting” dimensions. Therefore, image transfer or “Night-Club” only.contrast could be tested on each image dimension. Although The congruency between two less familiar (neutral) brandsdifference scores can exhibit psychometric concerns, we hoped with similar concepts was not expected to be affected by thethat by using an alternative dependent measure in this study concurrent-sponsorships manipulation. As predicted, thewe would increase the generalizability of the image transfer image congruency between “Footwear” and “SportFit” (i.e.,phenomenon if the results were indeed replicated. Because the “sport” replication) did not differ across sponsorshipvery specific dimensions of the stimuli’s images were manipu- conditions on either the “sincere” or “exciting” dimensions,lated, it was possible to control for event–brand transfer, or MExciting concurrent = 1.16 versus MExciting no = 1.42; F(1, 100) = 1.06,contrast, by covarying out “sophistication” since this was the p = .31, partial η2 = 1.1% and MSincere concurrent = 1.25 versusunique salient dimension of the event. Therefore, the level of MSincere no = 1.27; F(1, 100) = .02, p = .90, partial η2 = .0%.“sophistication” of the brands’ images was used as a covariate. The image congruency between “Boston Bookstore” andIn addition, in the dissimilar concept conditions, the degree of “GreatBags” (i.e., the “no sport” replication) did not dif-similarity between the event and both brands was controlled fer on the “sincere” dimension, MSincere concurrent  =  .89 versusfor by using the extent to which each brand was related to the MSincere no = 1.15; F(1, 100) = 2.03, p = .16, partial η2 = 2%;“sport” concept as covariables. The “sport” brands had higher however, their image congruency on the “exciting” dimen-ratings than the “no sport” brands on the sport concept measure sion was greater in the case of concurrent sponsorships, which(t‑values ranging from 10.82 to 41.77, ps < .01; see Table 3). revealed a transfer of image, MExciting concurrent  =  1.02 versusRaw and adjusted cell means are displayed in Table 4. MExciting no = 1.38; F(1, 100) = 2.84, p < .05, partial η2 = 2.8%. As in Study 1, only the subset of respondents familiar with both “Boston Bookstore” and “GreatBags” exhibited imageSimilar Concept Brands transfer, whereas the less familiar respondents did not, familiar: MExciting concurrent = 1.03 versus MExciting no = 1.62; F(1, 47) = 2.98,The image congruency between two familiar brands with p < .05, partial η2 = 6%; less familiar: MExciting concurrent = 1.03similar concepts was expected to be greater when they were versus MExciting no  =  1.14; F(1, 49)  =  .19, p  =  .67, partialconcurrent sponsors. Regarding “Glissade” and “Fitness” (i.e., η2 = .4%. This showed again that image transfer is preventedthe “sport” concept replication), image ratings indicated that between similar sponsors when their images are not salienttheir congruency on the “exciting” dimension was greater when enough in consumers’ minds.both brands were involved in concurrent sponsorships thanwhen neither brand was involved, MExciting concurrent = .91 versus Dissimilar Concept BrandsMExciting no = 1.20; F(1, 98) = 2.96, p < .05, partial η2 = 2.9%,whereas the difference observed on the “sincere” dimension The image congruency between two familiar brands with dis-was not statistically significant, MSincere concurrent = 1.18 versus similar concepts was expected to be smaller when they wereMSincere no = 1.32; F(1, 98) = .32, p = .57, partial η2 = .3%. concurrent sponsors. Regarding “Glissade” (i.e., “sport”) andRegarding “Massachusetts Bank” and “Night-Club” (i.e., the “Massachusetts Bank” (i.e., “no sport”), image ratings indicat-“no sport” concept replication), image ratings indicated that ed that there was less congruency on the “exciting” dimensionthey were more congruent on the “exciting” dimension when when both brands were involved in concurrent sponsorshipsboth were involved in concurrent sponsorships than when than when neither brand was involved, MExciting concurrent = 1.38neither brand was involved, MExciting concurrent  =  3.30 versus versus MExciting no  =  .85; F(1, 97)  =  3.51, p  <  .05, partialMExciting no = 3.76; F(1, 98) = 3.55, p < .05, partial η2 = 3.5%, η2 = 3.5%, whereas the difference observed on the “sincere” di-whereas the difference observed on the “sincere” dimension mension was not statistically significant, MSincere concurrent = 1.00was not statistically significant, MSincere concurrent = 2.53 versus versus MSincere no = .92; F(1, 97) = .09, p = .77, partial η2 = .1%.MSincere no = 2.72; F(1, 198) = .33, p = .29, partial η2 = .3%. Regarding “Fitness” (i.e., “sport”) and “Night-Club” (i.e.,Overall, these results supported the notion of a transfer of the “no sport”), image ratings indicated that neither their con-“excitement” image between similar familiar brands. Recall gruency on the “exciting” dimension nor their congruency
  12. 12. 120  The Journal of Advertising Table 4 Experiment 2: Raw and Adjusted Mean Congruency Between Pairs of Brands in Replication Conditions as a Function of Sponsorship Type, Concept Similarity, Brand Familiarity, and Image Dimension Similar brand concept Dissimilar brand concept Raw means Adjusted means Raw means Adjusted means No Concurrent No Concurrent No Concurrent No Concurrent“Exciting” image dimension  Familiar brands   Replication1 1.14 .98 1.20 .91 .86 1.34 .85 1.38 (.13) (.14) (.11) (.12) (.18) (.20) (.18) (.21)   Replication 2 3.62 3.47 3.76 3.30 1.29 1.11 1.32 1.08 (.22) (.24) (.16) (.18) (.13) (.15) (.13) (.15)  Less familiar brands   Replication 1 1.43 1.15 1.42 1.16 1.65 1.71 1.66 1.70 (.17) (.18) (.17) (.18) (.19) (.21) (.18) (.21)   Replication 2 1.96 1.78 1.38 1.02 1.96 1.78 1.92 1.83 (.21) (.22) (.14) (.16) (.20) (.22) (.21) (.23)“Sincere” image dimension  Familiar brands   Replication 1 1.34 1.16 1.32 1.18 .91 1.00 .92 1.00 (.16) (.18) (.16) (.18) (.18) (.19) (.18) (.20)   Replication 2 2.61 2.67 2.72 2.53 1.58 1.67 1.57 1.65 (.23) (.26) (.22) (.24) (.19) (.21) (.19) (.22)  Less familiar brands   Replication 1 1.28 1.23 1.27 1.25 1.04 .97 1.04 .98 (.14) (.16) (.14) (.16) (.12) (.13) (.12) (.13)   Replication 2 1.21 .94 1.15 .89 1.21 .94 1.18 .97 (.12) (.13) (.12) (.13) (.12) (.13) (.12) (.14)Note: Standard errors are in parentheses.on the “sincere” dimension was affected by the concurrent- respectively; SportFit/GreatBags: MExciting concurrent = 1.83 versussponsorships manipulation, MExciting concurrent  =  1.08 versus MExciting no = 1.92; F(1, 98) = .07, p = .79, partial η2 = .1% andMExciting no = 1.32; F(1, 95) = 1.52, p = .22, partial η2 = 1.6% MSincere concurrent = .97 versus MSincere no = 1.18; F(1, 98) = 1.22,and MSincere concurrent = 1.65 versus MSincere no = 1.57; F(1, 95) = .08, p = .27, partial η2 = 1.2%, respectively. It confirmed there isp = .78, partial η2 = .1%, respectively. Overall, these results no image contrast between two dissimilar brands when theirbrought mixed support for the notion of a contrast of image images are not salient enough.between familiar brands with dissimilar concepts because inone replication, the brands’ images contrasted, whereas image GENERAL DISCUSSIONcongruency was not affected in the other replication. The congruency between two less familiar (neutral) brands This research contributes to the sponsorship literature bywith dissimilar concepts was not expected to be affected by providing a better understanding of the effects of concurrentthe concurrent-sponsorships manipulation. As expected, the sponsorships on consumers’ sponsoring brands perceptions.image congruency between “Footwear” (i.e., “sport”) and This is the first study to demonstrate the existence of a fortu-“Boston Bookstore” (i.e., “no sport”) on both the “sincere” and itous transfer and contrast of image between sponsoring brands“exciting” dimensions as well as the image congruency between of the same event. In addition, it extends the understanding“SportFit” (i.e., “sport”) and “GreatBags” (i.e., “no sport”) regarding the role of brand–concept similarity in image trans-did not differ across sponsorship conditions, Footwear/Bos- fer and contrast. Furthermore, it shows that sponsoring brandton Bookstore: MExciting concurrent = 1.70 versus MExciting no = 1.66; familiarity moderates transfer and contrast of image. In StudyF(1, 98) = .02, p = .90, partial η2 < .1% and MSincere concurrent = .98 1, image transfer occurred between similar and familiar brandsversus MSincere no = 1.04; F(1, 98) = .11, p = .75, partial η2 = .1%, (supporting H1a), while image contrast took place between
  13. 13. Summer 2010  121dissimilar brands that were familiar (supporting H2a), but not Companies are sometimes concerned about the negativebetween less familiar brands (supporting H2b). Unexpectedly, consequences of sharing the sponsorship of an event withthere was also some image transfer between less familiar and other sponsors (Tourville 1996). However, note that thissimilar brands (disconfirming H1b); however, a subsequent study shows there is no valence associated with the concur‑analysis showed that the difficulty of calibrating real brands rent sponsorships side effect; therefore, image transfer or contrastwith less salient images that are not totally unfamiliar could could have either a negative or positive impact dependingexplain this result. Therefore, it is possible that Red Bull and on the positioning of the brand and the images of the otherPropel may have been slightly congruent with consumers’ held concurrent sponsors. This side effect could be an opportunityschema, which could have triggered a categorization process or a threat for a brand manager as a function of the marketing(Mandler 1982). As a result, they were salient enough in con- strategy adopted. This is especially true when both sponsorssumers’ memory to lead to image transfer. In fact, in Study 2, are familiar because results indicate that the side effect is mostwhere a better control of the saliency of the brands’ images was robust in this case, but such effects can be controlled to somepossible, only one transfer effect was obtained between less extent. Concurrent sponsorships could offer many possibilitiesfamiliar (neutral) brands across a total of four replicates on the to sponsors for developing or modifying their brands’ images“exciting” dimension. The similar brands “Boston Bookstore” and positioning. This implies possible cooperation amongand “GreatBags” exhibited image transfer on the “exciting” sponsors, especially if they do not compete in the same productdimension due to the greater saliency of these brands’ images category. As an illustration, let us assume that Gatorade needsfor a subset of respondents. to strengthen consumers’ perception of its “competitiveness” In addition, note that the transfer and contrast effects ob- dimension, on which Nike is highly rated, while Nike wantstained in Study 2 all occurred on the exciting dimension. Here, to cultivate the “fun” dimension of its brand image, which isagain, the underlying phenomenon explaining this result is a salient perception of Gatorade. If Gatorade and Nike becomethe differences in saliency of the image dimensions (the excit- concurrent sponsors of the same event, they could achieve theiring brands had higher ratings on the “excitement” dimension mutual goals. For instance, they could control the side effectthan did the sincere brands on the “sincerity” dimension). of concurrent sponsorships by negotiating together with theThese results show the role of familiarity in increasing the event to ensure they benefit from each other’s image transfer.saliency of the features of the brands. In line with Tversky’s Note that cooperation between two sponsors only could be(1977) similarity model, less familiar brands had less salient sufficient to obtain the desired transfer, or contrast, effectscommon features, which prevented their assignment to the since Study 2 showed that these effects can occur even amongsame categories, and therefore limited image transfer between a pool of eight sponsors.them. These findings differ from those of Carrillat, Lafferty, In sum, akin to cobranding, concurrent sponsoring brandsand Harris (2005), as well as those of Lardinoit and Quester become associated in consumers’ minds. In concurrent sponsor-(2001), who find that less familiar brands are more susceptible ships, however, the association between the brands does notto perceptual changes since consumers hold less firm beliefs have to be formal to lead to a transfer of image between them.toward them. However, these studies are not contradicting In addition, in this study, direct evidence of image transfer isthe present findings. These researchers investigate the impact found, whereas in most brand extension or cobranding studies,of familiar events on less familiar brands, whereas in H1b, image transfer is assumed, rather than empirically examinedwe investigated the impact of less familiar brands on other on its own, in order to predict improved brand evaluation.less familiar brands. It is possible that less familiar events As Gwinner and Eaton (1999) did with solo sponsorship, thiswould have had a lower attitudinal impact due to less salient study provides an in-depth examination of the image transfer-associations in Carrillat, Lafferty, and Harris (2005) as well ence mechanism in concurrent sponsorships.as Lardinoit and Quester (2001). The contrast effect from Study 1 was supported by one LIMITATIONS AND FURTHER RESEARCHreplication in Study 2, but not by the second replication;however, the overall results regarding the prediction that Several factors limit the generalizability of our findings. Itfamiliar/dissimilar brands will have their image congruency is difficult to recreate authentic sponsorships effects with andiminished if they concurrently support the same event ap- experiment because typically consumers are subject to nu-pear to be generally supported, as it occurred two times out of merous stimulations associated with an event (e.g., ads seenthree. This is in line with our theoretical view that familiar/ in other media, attendance of the event). Note that becausedissimilar brands are assigned to different categories (Mandler the effects produced by experimental treatments are weaker1982), which triggers a contrast of their images and accentu- than with real stimuli, the results obtained are likely to beates their incongruence (Krueger and Clement 1994; Tajfel conservative. This suggests that the concurrent sponsorships1959). side effect is not to be underestimated. Student samples were
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