Re-conceptualizing reverse meaning transfer: the moderating influence of meaning type Academic Article uri icon


  • © Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine whether negative meanings consumers attribute to a corporation transfer to the endorser and to examine the moderating effects of corporate-specific and product-specific negative meanings on an endorser’s credibility. Design/methodology/approach – Following a protocol designed by Till and Shimp (1998), two experiments were conducted to examine if meaning transfer exists (experiment 1) and if meaning type moderates reverse meaning transfer (experiment 2). A doubly repeated multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to investigate changes in the endorser’s credibility and attitudes toward the brand. Findings – The results revealed that the negative meanings consumers associated with these corporate crises influence consumer perceptions of the endorser as well as attitude toward the brand. Research limitations/implications – This finding supports the position that meaning type moderates reverse meaning transfer and may explain variances in the literature on the significance of reverse meaning transfer. Based on these findings, brand crises have a negative effect on the endorser’s credibility. Practical implications – The results lead the authors to suggest that endorsers as well as marketers should closely scrutinize brand partnerships, as the relationship may positively and negatively influence consumer perceptions of the athlete endorser. Social implications – Based on the findings from this study, brand managers need to appreciate differences in brand crisis type by tailoring brand image remediation strategies to fit the type(s) of meaning(s) associated with a specific controversy. Originality/value – The results from the current study add, significantly, to the literature by being the first to evidence that different meanings associated with different types of brand crises produce different attitudes toward the brand.

author list (cited authors)

  • Baker, T. A., Byon, K. K., & Brison, N. T.

citation count

  • 1

publication date

  • November 2017