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The effect of the moral failure of a foreign brand on competing brands

Amro A. Maher (Department of Management and Marketing, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar)
Anusorn Singhapakdi (Department of Marketing, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, USA)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of the moral failure of a scandalized foreign brand afflicted with a product-harm crisis on competing brands (i.e. within the same product category) while taking into account the country of origin (COO) of the brands.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the results of two studies. The first study uses an experimental design, while the second uses a survey to examine a real-life product-harm crisis.

Findings

The results indicate that the moral failure of a scandalized foreign brand has an indirect negative effect on the intention to purchase competing foreign brands from the COO of the scandalized foreign brand. This effect is, however, reversed for domestic brands, where moral failure has an indirect positive effect on the intention to purchase competing domestic brands.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this research were based on an examination of how US consumers responded to the moral failure of Japanese and German brands. Future studies should examine brands from different COOs in different countries.

Practical implications

These results suggest that competing foreign brands from the COO of the scandalized brand should collaborate to quickly handle a product-harm crisis to prevent a spillover and that domestic competitors should capitalize on the opportunity to attract new customers.

Originality/value

This study represents a first attempt to examine the effect of a foreign brand’s moral failure in handling product-harm crisis on competing brands, both foreign and domestic.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Hadil Sherif, Abdullah Aljafari and Tamer Elsharnouby for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. They would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers, the associate editor and editor, for their efforts during the review process to improve the quality of the manuscript. Finally, they would also like to acknowledge funding from the College of Business and Public Administration at Old Dominion University to support data collection for this research.

Citation

Maher, A.A. and Singhapakdi, A. (2017), "The effect of the moral failure of a foreign brand on competing brands", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 51 No. 5/6, pp. 903-922. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-07-2015-0410

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited