The Effect of Controversy on Brand Visibility and Consumer Awareness in Formula One

Lees, Samuel Robert (2008) The Effect of Controversy on Brand Visibility and Consumer Awareness in Formula One. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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There has been a degree of research conducted into the effect that controversy has on brand equity and consumer knowledge. This study aims to extend this knowledge by addressing whether the existence of indirect controversy on different types of consumers can benefit a sponsor by increasing visibility. Can a consumer become aware of a sponsor's activities merely as a result of controversy i.e. without a prior awareness of the operating environment? Are low-commitment consumers less inclined to attribute negative information to sponsors than those with a high-commitment? Does a negative perception of the environment lead to an automatic connection between a sponsor and controversy regardless of the weakness of the relationship?

These questions are proposed in reference to the Formula 1 environment, and were investigated using an online survey. The questions assessed awareness of and attitude towards both the sport and sponsor activity. The predicted actions taken by consumers (in terms of purchasing decisions) are also considered. The data indicates that controversies can be influential in raising awareness for a small proportion. Low commitment consumers were more inclined to associate controversy with sponsors (high commitment consumers exhibited converse inclinations). Consumers with a negative perception of the environment exhibited an intrinsic belief that controversy would negatively impact on sponsors, even of controversy were indirect.

Sport tends to produce strong sentiments in both low- and high-commitment individuals that often supersedes and influences the connections that sponsors are able to create between themselves and an environment. Numerous forces some explicit, some latent influence consumer reactions and consequent purchasing decisions. This makes prescriptions or predictions of response under given conditions difficult. Controversy can play a significant role but its influence will be variable; the manner in which a sponsor deals with any negative fall-out is equally important.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: Formula 1, brand visibility, brand awareness
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 14:00

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