IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Cause Marketing: Spillover Effects of Cause-Related Products in a Product Portfolio


  • Aradhna Krishna

    () (Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109)

  • Uday Rajan

    () (Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109)


The number of firms carrying a cause-related product has significantly increased in recent years. We consider a duopoly model of competition between firms in two products to determine which products a firm will link to a cause. We first test the behavioral underpinnings of our model in two laboratory experiments to demonstrate the existence of both a direct utility benefit to consumers from cause marketing (CM) and a spillover benefit onto other products in the portfolio. Linking one product in a product portfolio to a cause can therefore increase sales both of that product and, via a spillover effect, of other products in the firm's portfolio. We construct a CM game in which each firm chooses which products, if any, to place on CM. In the absence of a spillover benefit, a firm places a product on CM if and only if it can increase its price by enough to compensate for the cost of CM. Thus, in equilibrium, firms either have both products or neither product on CM. However, with the introduction of a spillover benefit to the second product, this result changes. We show that if a single firm in the market links only one product to a cause, it can raise prices on both products and earn a higher profit. We assume each firm has an advantage in one product and show that there is an equilibrium in which each firm links only its disadvantaged product to a cause. If the spillover effect is strong, there is a second equilibrium in which each firm links only its advantaged product to a cause. In each case, firms raise their prices on both products and earn higher profits than when neither firm engages in CM. We also show that a firm will never place its entire portfolio on CM. Overall, our work implies that, by carrying cause-related products, companies can not only improve their image in the public eye but also increase profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Aradhna Krishna & Uday Rajan, 2009. "Cause Marketing: Spillover Effects of Cause-Related Products in a Product Portfolio," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(9), pages 1469-1485, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:9:p:1469-1485
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.1090.1043

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    3. David K. Levine, 1998. "Modeling Altruism and Spitefulness in Experiment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(3), pages 593-622, July.
    4. Z. John Zhang & Aradhna Krishna & Sanjay K. Dhar, 2000. "The Optimal Choice of Promotional Vehicles: Front-Loaded or Rear-Loaded Incentives?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(3), pages 348-362, March.
    5. Aradhna Krishna & Z. John Zhang, 1999. "Short- or Long-Duration Coupons: The Effect of the Expiration Date on the Profitability of Coupon Promotions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(8), pages 1041-1056, August.
    6. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    7. Preyas S. Desai, 2001. "Quality Segmentation in Spatial Markets: When Does Cannibalization Affect Product Line Design?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 20(3), pages 265-283, August.
    8. Jagmohan S. Raju & Sanjay K. Dhar & Donald G. Morrison, 1994. "The Effect of Package Coupons on Brand Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(2), pages 145-164.
    9. Lafferty, Barbara A. & Goldsmith, Ronald E., 1999. "Corporate Credibility's Role in Consumers' Attitudes and Purchase Intentions When a High versus a Low Credibility Endorser Is Used in the Ad," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 109-116, February.
    10. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-846, December.
    11. Webster, Frederick E, Jr, 1975. " Determining the Characteristics of the Socially Conscious Consumer," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 188-196, December.
    12. Neeraj Arora & Ty Henderson, 2007. "Embedded Premium Promotion: Why It Works and How to Make It More Effective," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(4), pages 514-531, 07-08.
    13. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Donkers, Bas & van Diepen, Merel & Franses, Philip Hans, 2017. "Do charities get more when they ask more often? Evidence from a unique field experiment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 58-65.
    2. Dentoni, Domenico & Peterson, H. Christopher, 2011. "Multi-Stakeholder Sustainability Alliances in Agri-Food Chains: A Framework for Multi-Disciplinary Research," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association, vol. 14(5), pages 1-25, December.
    3. Yoshifumi Hino & Yusuke Zennyo, 2017. "Corporate social responsibility and strategic relationships," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 64(3), pages 231-244, September.
    4. He, Hongwei & Chao, Melody M. & Zhu, Weichun, 2019. "Cause-related marketing and employee engagement: The roles of admiration, implicit morality beliefs, and moral identity," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 83-92.
    5. Ashwin Aravindakshan & Olivier Rubel & Oliver Rutz, 2015. "Managing Blood Donations with Marketing," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(2), pages 269-280, March.
    6. Ernan Haruvy & Peter T. L. Popkowski Leszczyc, 2015. "The Loser’s Bliss in Auctions with Price Externality," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(3), pages 1-23, July.
    7. Grolleau, Gilles & Ibanez, Lisette & Lavoie, Nathalie, 2016. "Cause-related marketing of products with a negative externality," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(10), pages 4321-4330.
    8. Kumar, Bipul & Sinha, Piyush Kumar & Shukla, P. R. & Abhishek, 2013. "Broadening the Concept of Sustainability and Measuring its Impact on Firm’s Performance," IIMA Working Papers WP2013-08-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    9. Matsdotter, Elina & Elofsson, Katarina & Arntyr, Johan, 2014. "Got green milk? Field Experimental Trail of Consumer Demand for a Climate Label," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 183076, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    10. João Guerreiro & Paulo Rita & Duarte Trigueiros, 2016. "A Text Mining-Based Review of Cause-Related Marketing Literature," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 111-128, November.
    11. Banerjee, Sumitro & Wathieu, Luc, 2017. "Corporate social responsibility and product quality: Complements or substitutes?," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 734-745.
    12. Mia Reinholt Fosgaard & Toke Reinholt Fosgaard & Nicolai Juul Foss, 2017. "Consumer or citizen? Prosocial behaviors in markets and non-markets," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(2), pages 231-253, August.
    13. Roca, Esther & Giarratana, Marco S. & Fosfuri, Andrea, 2010. "Community-based strategies in action: building and sustaining a product differentiation advantage," INDEM - Working Paper Business Economic Series id-10-01, Instituto para el Desarrollo Empresarial (INDEM).
    14. Bolton, Lisa E. & Mattila, Anna S., 2015. "How Does Corporate Social Responsibility Affect Consumer Response to Service Failure in Buyer–Seller Relationships?," Journal of Retailing, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 140-153.
    15. Bhardwaj, Pradeep & Chatterjee, Prabirendra & Demir, Kivilcim Dogerlioglu & Turut, Ozge, 2018. "When and how is corporate social responsibility profitable?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 206-219.
    16. Ganesh Iyer & David A. Soberman, 2016. "Social Responsibility and Product Innovation," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 35(5), pages 727-742, September.
    17. Wirl, Franz & Feichtinger, Gustav & Kort, Peter M., 2013. "Individual firm and market dynamics of CSR activities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 169-182.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:9:p:1469-1485. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matthew Walls). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.