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EMAC 2022 Annual

Disrespectful Promotions: How Identity-Linked Price Promotions Backfire for Marginalized Consumer Groups

Published: May 24, 2022


Guanzhong Du, University of British Columbia; Kobe Millet, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Aylin Aydinli, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Jennifer Argo, University of Alberta


While abundant work demonstrates that brands benefit from linking their products with consumers’ social identities, little is known about how consumers respond when their identity-linked product is on sale. We propose that offering price promotions (versus not) on products linked to marginalized identities may generate negative consumer reactions. Specifically, we argue that marginalized consumers infer from the promotion on their identity-linked product that their social group is viewed as “cheap,” and thus perceive the brand as disrespectful toward their social group. As a result of this heightened perceived disrespect, marginalized consumers adopt less favorable attitudes toward the brand. Support for this proposition was found across five experimental studies conducted among different marginalized consumer groups.