Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

David J. Ortinau, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Anand Kumar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Hooker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Terry Sincich, Ph.D.


brand polarization, brand hate, brand love, positive word of mouth


Given a lack of tactics for addressing brand hate, most managers tend to ignore brand haters, and instead dedicate their resources towards consumers who like or love their brand. Similarly, relative to the volume of research on positive brand emotions, the academic literature exploring negative brand emotions is limited. Moreover, research indicates that compared to positive brand information, negative brand information is more diagnostic, and ultimately more damaging.

In contrast to such findings and practices, this dissertation proposes a strategy whereby using advertising to openly acknowledge that a brand is hated (i.e. hate-acknowledging advertising) can be advantageous for corporate polarizing brands. The findings suggest that, compared to a traditional ad (i.e., an ad which only focuses on positive brand attributes or information), a hate-acknowledging produces higher levels of brand trust through the mediating influence of ad credibility. This research also demonstrates that hate-acknowledging advertising (vs. traditional advertising) has a stronger and more favorable influence on consumer intentions to engage in positive word of mouth, and that consumer brand emotions moderate this effect. Specifically, the favorable influence of hate-acknowledging on positive word of mouth intensifies with higher levels of consumer love towards a polarizing brand.

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Marketing Commons