Research

The Unintended Consequences of Using ‘Posers’ in Nonprofit Public Service Announcements and Proposed Self-Regulatory Disclosure Solutions

Although public service announcements (PSAs) employing undisclosed actor portrayals (posers) in the message are in technical violation of Federal Trade Commission regulations on deception, sponsors of such PSA formats are unlikely to be pursued for such violations. However, when nonprofits use actors in lieu of real victims in their PSA messages, real financial and reputational loss to the nonprofit may occur. In this study, the authors develop and test a model of the antecedents to perceived social responsibility of and people's subsequent intent to donate to nonprofits that employ PSAs. They also investigate the efficacy of using actor portrayal labels when composites of real victims rather than actual victims are portrayed in the PSAs. The results confirm that viewers experience a stronger emotional connection when the PSA uses real victims, along with greater perceptions of the nonprofit's social responsibility and greater subsequent intent to donate to the nonprofit. The authors propose that self-regulation may help mitigate negative reactions to PSA messages that employ actors rather than real victims in the PSAs.

Publication Information
Article Title: The Unintended Consequences of Using ‘Posers’ in Nonprofit Public Service Announcements and Proposed Self-Regulatory Disclosure Solutions
Journal: Journal of Public Policy and Marketing (2010)
29(2), 219-231
Author(s): Shananhan, K.;  Hopkins, C.;  Carlson, Les
Researcher Information
    
Carlson, Les
Carlson, Les
Professor and Nathan J. Gold Distinguished Professorship
Expertise:
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Consumer Socialization
  • Marketing Communication
  • Services Marketing
Marketing
CoB 345K
P.O. Box 880492
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE 68588-0492, USA
Phone: (402) 472-3156
Fax: (402) 472-9777
lcarlson3@unl.edu