Advertising and Corporate Social Responsibility


Special issue of International Journal of Advertising; Deadline 1 Mar 2020

We are soliciting manuscripts for an upcoming special issue of the International Journal of Advertising (IJA) dedicated to advertising and corporate social responsibility (CSR). This special issue addresses broad questions regarding CSR from an advertising perspective. Recent academic and industry research suggests that globally consumers prefer, if not demand, companies that strive to positively impact society. For example, 87% of American consumers cited shared values and responsible business practices as reasons for purchasing a product while 88% would boycott companies for irresponsible actions (Cone Communications 2017Cone Communications. 2017. 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study. [Google Scholar]). Communicating social responsibility is important; nearly three quarters of respondents say they do not believe companies are making an effort until positive efforts are communicated to them; further, CSR commitments are more trusted when shared across multiple channels. With the growing importance of companies communicating CSR, recent calls for academic research on CSR and advertising (e.g., Taylor 2014Taylor, C.R. 2014. Corporate social responsibility and advertising. International Journal of Advertising 33,no.1: 115. no.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar], 2018Taylor, C.R. 2018. Red alert: on the need for more research on corporate social responsibility appeals in advertising. International Journal of Advertising 37, no.3: 3379.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]) are not surprising, however, most extant research is grounded not in advertising, but in management, business ethics, and public relations.

Advertising as communication is a critical component of CSR, however, advertising as a process is also deeply implicated in many current social issues and controversies. Advertising is the primary source of revenue for companies such as Google and Facebook and is at the core of controversies around consumer data (e.g. Cambridge Analytica), privacy, and illegal or unethical ad targeting practices. However, advertisers also prompt action that affects policy and content, such as YouTube hiring moderators for video content to ensure that ads are seen in a ‘brand safe’ context. In conceptualizing CSR, corporate social action for social good versus profitability are often seen as being at odds (e.g., Brønn and Vrioni 2001Brønn, P.S., and A.B. Vrioni. 2001. Corporate social responsibility and cause-related marketing: an overview. International Journal of Advertising 20, no. 2: 20722.[Taylor & Francis Online], [Google Scholar]; Perks et al. 2013Perks, K.J., F. Farache, P.Shukla, and A. Berry. 2013. Communicating responsibility-practicing irresponsibility in CSR advertisements. Journal of Business Research 66, no. 10: 18818.[Crossref], [Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). In this special issue, the two are not viewed as mutually exclusive. Corporate social responsibility is broadly defined as the extent to which a company’s actions and outcomes align with society’s values and expectations (Lerner and Fryxell 1988Lerner, L.D., and G.E. Fryxell. 1988. An empirical study of the predictors of corporate social performance: a multi-dimensional analysis. Journal of Business Ethics 7, no. 12: 9519.[Web of Science ®], [Google Scholar]). Practicing and/or communicating CSR through advertising can be a cause-related marketing (CRM) activity designed to provide the company with revenue generation opportunities (Mullen 1997Mullen, J. 1997. Performance-based corporate philanthropy: How" giving smart" can further corporate goals. Public Relations Quarterly 42, no. 2: 42. [Google Scholar]). We welcome studies that advance our understanding of corporate social responsibility from an advertising perspective.

Suggested Topics: For this special issue, possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • Antecedents & consequences of brand and company engagement in CSR

  • Advertising communication strategies and appeals

  • Responsible practices in data, including issues related to targeting and consumer privacy

  • Conceptualizing and measuring CSR performance

  • Advertising disclosure

  • Affective and cognitive effects on the overall view of the brand and company

  • Communication channels and effectiveness

  • Novel theoretical approaches to CSR

  • CSR segment characteristics (e.g., demographics, psychographics, and behaviors)

  • Brand-cause fit

  • Cross-national issues with communicating CSR

  • Positive and negative brand consequences of association with controversial causes

  • Balancing social good and profit

  • Emerging issues in advertising and CSR

Submission and review process

Submissions should follow the manuscript format guidelines for IJA at Manuscripts submitted to the special issue should be original contributions and should not be under consideration for any other publication at the same time. Manuscripts should be submitted in Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced with one-inch margins. Full manuscript submissions should have page numbers and be limited to 20 pages of text in length. The manuscript’s title page should include the corresponding author’s name, affiliation, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Names and contact information for other authors should be included as well. Information identifying the submission authors should only be listed on the title page.

All manuscripts should be submitted through the IJA online editorial management system at, during the period of January 15 through March 1, 2020. Authors should select ‘Special Issue: Advertising & Corporate Social Responsibility’ as ‘Article Type’. Please also note in the cover letter that the submission is for the Special Issue on Advertising & Corporate Social Responsibility. Manuscripts will go through a double-blind peer review process, and the Special Issue is planned to appear in 2020.

Special issue guest editors

Dr. Jameson Hayes, Assistant Professor of Advertising + Public Relations & Director of the Public Opinion Lab, Department of Advertising + Public Relations, College of Communication & Information Sciences, University of Alabama, e-mail: .

Dr. Brittany R.L. Duff, Associate Professor of Advertising, Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising, and the Institute of Communications Research, College of Media, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, e-mail: .

The authoritative version of this call can be found here: