Call for Manuscripts: Political Activity and Marketing

Gautham Vadakkepatt, Daniel Korschun, and Kelly Martin, special section editors
 

 

 
Key Takeaways
​​​What? Consumers, corporations, and a variety of other stakeholders have become increasingly active in today’s political landscape.

So What? However, research on the relationship between political activities and marketing, as well as public policy implications, is scarce.

Now What? Consider submitting a manuscript for inclusion in this special Issue.
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The Journal of Public Policy & Marketing is soliciting manuscripts devoted to marketing’s interface with political activities and behaviors.

Consumers, corporations, and a variety of other stakeholders have become increasingly active in today’s political landscape. On the corporate side, companies spend billions to influence government policies and shape political issues, typically through lobbying or through political action committees (PACs) (e.g., Martin et al. 2018). Indeed, lobbying expenditures in the United States have roughly doubled since 1998 (from $1.5 billion to $3 billion), and contributions to PACs jumped from $220 million to $2.2 billion over the same period (opensecrets.org). On various socio-political issues, it has become common for companies to make statements or take actions, even when those issues may be controversial. For example, when U.S. President Donald Trump announced a plan to shrink a national monument in Utah, Patagonia announced its strong opposition to the decision on its homepage and through social media; “The President Stole Your Land” read the headline. Other companies have entered various political conversations taking stands on both sides of the debate: Apple has made statements on transgender issues (Morris 2016), Pfizer on the death penalty (Ellis, McLaughlin, and Alsup 2016), Facebook on immigration (Palmer 2015), Starbucks on race relations (Starbucks Newsroom 2015), and Salesforce.com on same-sex marriage (Vanian 2016).

Consumers too are becoming more political, with political ideology becoming an increasingly salient element of self-definition (Jost, Federico, and Napier 2009). Political ideology can spill over into marketplace behaviors when consumers view purchase (or lack thereof) as a means to participate in the political system (Stolle, Hooghe, and Micheletti 2005). Recent research links complaining, disputing, and boycotting behaviors to consumer political ideology (Jung et al. 2017). Political ideology can influence the way consumers engage companies, and it has created a rise in consumer movements among people regardless of affiliation. Although consumer activism and voting with one’s consumption are not new, this type of consumer political engagement is experiencing a resurgence. Consumer movements including the Ethical Consumer, #grabyourwallet, and 2nd Vote encourage and inform consumers of ways to engage in a combination of boycott and “buycott” behaviors based on political ideology.

While consumers, companies, and other organizations are incorporating politics into their respective thinking and behavior, there remains a relative dearth of research on the relationship between these political activities and marketing. Likewise, although public policy implications are embedded in questions of this nature, research is needed to better map the role public policy plays in the complex interface between political activity and marketing. Scholarly inquiry into the public policy consequences of both firm and consumer political activity is greatly needed. In sum, this call aims to fill the broad gap in political activity research in marketing by encouraging a wide range of firm-side, consumer-side, and public policy submissions.
Relevant questions may include, but certainly are not limited to, the following:

Firm-Side Questions

  • What factors lead a company to become politically active in today’s environment? What role do marketing practitioners (e.g., CMO, product managers) play in corporate decisions to lobby, contribute to PACs, or make political statements?
  • How does corporate political activity interface with specific marketing activities related to value creation, value extraction, value delivery, and value communication?
  • How should firms respond to the consumer movements that involve their products or services? Should firms play a more proactive role in consumer boycott/buycott movements?
  • Can corporate political activity be used as an effective marketing tool? If so, in what ways and what are the implications for consumers? What are possible short-term and long-term effects?
  • How do corporate partners (e.g., supply chain, distribution channel partners, co-branding partners, endorsers) respond to corporate political activity?

Consumer-Side Questions

  • In what ways does a country’s culture influence whether and/or how a company engages in political activity, and how consumers in these countries view such activities?
  • How do consumers react to firm’s corporate political activities? Under what conditions are these activities viewed favorably? What factors create consumer disapproval?
  • How and why do consumers become involved in today’s boycott/buycott movements? How do consumers view the effectiveness of measures designed to pressure companies for their political leanings?
  • Do politically based buycotts or boycotts “work”? What methods are available for evaluating boycott/buycott effectiveness?
  • In what ways do companies’ political activities create the potential for consumer harm? How might researchers and policymakers measure and mitigate this harm?

Public Policy Questions

  • What is the effect of corporate political activity on regulation or other public policy decisions (e.g., Coca-Cola and Pepsi opposing a soda tax in some cities)?
  • Does corporate political activity have spillover effects for a firm’s competitors? If so, what are the public policy implications for those firms, as well as for consumer welfare?
  • How does public policy interface with the marketing of political stances, viewpoints, and ideologies by companies?
  • Should public policy play a greater role in regulating firm political activity than it currently does? What are the salient issues involved with this important question?
  • What important characteristics distinguish corporate political activity from corporate social responsibility? From other corporate social behaviors? How is public policy situated in these different conceptualizations?
In this special issue, we seek research on all aspects of political activity from a marketing perspective. We encourage work from diverse perspectives: empirical or conceptual, organizational or individual-level, qualitative or quantitative. We also seek an international perspective. However, manuscripts that advocate for a particular political ideology shall not be considered; rather, submissions should contribute to marketing and public policy by examining issues through an unbiased lens.
 

Submission Requirements and Information


Inquiries can be directed to the special issue co-editors: Gautham Vadakkepatt (gvadakke@gmu.edu), Daniel Korschun (dek46@drexel.edu), and Kelly Martin (kelly.martin@colostate.edu).

Submissions should follow the manuscript format guidelines for the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. All manuscripts should be submitted through the JPP&M online submission system.
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*The submission window for manuscripts is June 1–August 15, 2019*

References


Ellis, Ralph, Eliott C. McLaughlin, and Dave Alsup (2016), “Pfizer Moves to Block its Drugs from Being Used in Lethal Injections,” CNN (May 14), available at http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/13/health/pfizer-death-penalty-drugs/index.html.

Jost, John T., Christopher M. Federico, and Jaime L. Napier. "Political Ideology: Its Structure, Functions, and Elective Affinities,” Annual Review of Psychology, 60 (2009): 307-37.

Jung, Kiju, Ellen Garbarino, Donnel Briley, and Jesse Wynhausen (2017), “Blue and Red Voices: Effects of Political Ideology on Consumers’ Complaining and Disputing Behavior,” Journal of Consumer Research, 44 (October), 477-99.

Martin, Kelly D., Brett W. Josephson, Gautham G. Vadakkepatt, and Jean L. Johnson (2018), “Political Management, R&D, and Advertising Capital in the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Good Prognosis?” Journal of Marketing, 82 (May), DOI: https://doi.org/10.1509/jm.15.0297.

Morris, David Z. (2016), “Apple and Tech Titans Condemn North Carolina Anti-LGBT Legislation,”

Palmer, Anna (2015), “Zuckerberg Immigration Group Launches 2016 Reform Blitz,” Politico (December 1), available at https://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/mark-zuckerberg-facebook- immigration-donald-trump-2016-election-216327.

Starbucks Newsroom (2015), “What Race Together Means for Starbucks Partners and Customers” (March 16), available at https://news.starbucks.com/news/what-race-together-means-for- starbucks-partners-and-customers.

Stolle, Dietlind, Marc Hooghe, and Michele Micheletti (2005), “Politics in the Supermarket: Political Consumerism as a Form of Political Participation,” International Political Science Review, 26 (3), 245-69.

Vanian, Jonathan (2016), “Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Battles Georgia Over Gay Rights,” Fortune (February 27), available at http://fortune.com/2016/02/26/salesforce-marc-benioff- georgia-gay-marriage/.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Gautham Vadakkepatt, Daniel Korschun, and Kelly Martin, special section editors

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