Using commitments to drive consistency: Enhancing the effectiveness of cause-related marketing communications

Rajiv Vaidyanathan, Praveen Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Research has consistently found that, despite a high degree of expressed concern about the environment, few individuals are willing to followup this concern with behavioural actions in support of the environment, particularly when these actions require the individuals to absorb some costs. Using the theoretical framework of commitment-consistency theory, two studies were conducted in order to examine the effect of a small, active commitment to an environmental cause on consumer preference for an advertised product that supported that cause. The empirical results show strong support for the fact that persuading consumers to make an active commitment to a cause can serve as an important prerequisite for behavioural consistency (in terms of the willingness to buy a product). Further, the paper adds to the evidence on selfperception theory as an underlying mechanism for the effectiveness of the technique. It is also found that, although commitment increases willingness to buy a product related to the cause, the effect works only when the cost associated with supporting the cause is minimal. The implications for marketing communications theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-246
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marketing Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would also like to thank the University of Minnesota Duluth Chancellor’s Small Grant Program for financial assistance in the completion of this project.


  • Cause-related marketing
  • Commitment-consistency theory
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Environmentalism
  • Foot-in-the-door technique


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