Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kimberly Golombisky, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Randy Miller, Ph.D.


CRM, brand-cause alliance, branding, vested interest, charities


Marketing and advertising practitioners are currently matching up a brand with a cause and broadcasting the association to consumers in a practice called cause related marketing (CRM). Scholars are building a stream of academic research which seeks to understand the relationship between a brand and a cause (a.k.a., alliance) in relation to the final outcome of a CRM campaign. Ostensibly, both partners benefit from this alliance, although many CRM studies seek to understand how to optimize this relationship for each partner.

In professional practice and academic research both practitioners and researchers have focused on established, popular, well-known causes in consideration of successful alliances. Less established, unfamiliar, unknown causes have yet to be considered for possible alliances.

This research seeks to build a case for the successful alliance between a brand and an unfamiliar cause with an outcome that will outperform an alliance between the same brand and an established, popular, well-known cause. An experiment was conducted in which familiarity with the brand, familiarity with the cause, and vested interest in the cause were manipulated, and their effects on attitude towards the brand, attitude towards the cause, and attitude towards the brand-cause alliance measured. Results indicated that cause vested interest had a significant influence on attitude towards the brand and attitude towards the cause, regardless of brand and cause familiarity.