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Can a replacing sponsor benefit? Consumer responses toward a new sponsor in the context of a sponsorship change

François Anthony Carrillat (Department of Marketing, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Reinhard Grohs (Seeburg Castle University, Seekirchen am Wallersee, Austria)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 31 May 2019

Issue publication date: 21 November 2019

762

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the common situation where the sponsor of an event is replaced and the impact of this situation on consumers’ behavioral intentions toward the new sponsor.

Design/methodology/approach

An original conceptual framework was developed to account for consumers’ reactions toward a new sponsor in the context of a sponsorship change, depending on whether the former and new sponsors are competitors, the duration of the relationship between the former sponsor and the event (tenure length), and the level of congruence between the new and the former sponsor and the event. This framework, based on consumer motive attributions, was tested by means of three completely randomized experiments.

Findings

The results of the first experiment show that if the former and new sponsors are competitors, consumers’ behavioral intentions toward the new sponsor are more positive if the former sponsor’s tenure duration was short. When the former and the new sponsors are not competitors, the former sponsor’s tenure duration does not impact behavioral intentions. The second experiment demonstrates that consumers’ altruistic motive attributions are the underlying mechanism that explains these effects. Finally, the third experiment identifies a boundary condition, that is, these effects occur only if the new and the former sponsor are congruent with the sponsored property.

Research limitations/implications

This research has not considered the situation where the former and new sponsors have different levels of congruence with the event (e.g. when the former sponsor is congruent but the new sponsor is incongruent with the event) and has examined only sponsorship tenure durations of one versus 15 years.

Practical implications

Sponsorship managers learn that replacing a sponsor that was supporting the event for a short rather than a long period of time is more beneficial, but only if replacing a competitor that is congruent with the sponsored property. The reason is that such a replacement triggers more altruistic motive attributions compared with contexts where the former sponsor is not a competitor or incongruent with the sponsored property. Suggestions of sponsorship activation strategies known to increase perceptions of altruism are provided to enhance sponsorship effectiveness for new sponsors.

Originality/value

This study is the first to look at how consumer responses to a new sponsor vary depending on the former sponsor’s tenure length, competitor status and event congruency.

Keywords

Citation

Carrillat, F.A. and Grohs, R. (2019), "Can a replacing sponsor benefit? Consumer responses toward a new sponsor in the context of a sponsorship change", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 53 No. 12, pp. 2481-2500. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-04-2016-0248

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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