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The impact of gratitude (vs pride) on the effectiveness of cause-related marketing

Felix Septianto (The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Nitika Garg (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 7 January 2021

Issue publication date: 17 June 2021




This study aims to investigate how gratitude, as compared to pride, can leverage the effectiveness of cause-related marketing, particularly a donation-based promotion. Drawing upon the appraisal tendency framework, this study establishes the underlying process driving these emotion effects. It also examines the moderating role of product type (hedonic vs utilitarian).


Five studies are conducted to test the predictions. Importantly, this study examines the predicted emotion effects across different sources of affect (dispositional, incidental and integral), different subject populations (students and Amazon Mechanical Turk panel) and different product categories (water bottle, chocolate and printer), leading to robust and generalizable findings.


Results show that gratitude (vs pride) increases the likelihood of purchasing a product with a donation-based promotion. This effect is mediated by gratitude’s other-responsibility appraisal and, in turn, increased reciprocity concerns (a serial mediation). Further, this study finds that how the gratitude (vs pride) effect is attenuated when the product is hedonic (but not utilitarian) in nature.

Research limitations implications

Past study on emotion and cause-related marketing has emphasized the role of negative emotions such as guilt. This study provides empirical evidence on the potential benefit of using positive emotions such as gratitude in cause-related marketing.

Practical implications

The implications of this study can benefit marketers by highlighting the use of gratitude appeals in their cause-related marketing campaigns.


The findings of the present research are significant because they highlight the potential role of a discrete positive emotion – gratitude – in leveraging the effectiveness of cause-related marketing and establish the underlying process driving this effect.



Septianto, F. and Garg, N. (2021), "The impact of gratitude (vs pride) on the effectiveness of cause-related marketing", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 55 No. 6, pp. 1594-1623.



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