Egregiousness and Boycott Intensity: Evidence from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Consumer boycotts are triggered by egregious events, but the literature has not distinguished the level of egregiousness from consumers’ preferences or disutility associated with a given level of egregiousness, nor has the literature studied how these two components of egregiousness affect boycott intensity. We provide a model of market-level boycotts that distinguishes the two egregiousness components. Consistent with the predictions of our model, the market-level intensity of consumer boycotting of BP-branded gasoline, which was triggered by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, increased with the spill’s egregiousness level, approximated by the officially reported daily amount of oil leaked into the ocean and by other measures (i.e., the duration of the spill and the intensity of media coverage), and with consumers’ disutility from egregiousness, approximated by an area’s environmentalism and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.
Professor Michael Jay Polonsky is the Chair in Marketing at Deakin University. He has been researching environmental and social issues in marketing for over 20 years. He has published over 120 journal articles, with many of these focusing on environmental marketing issues. In 2010 he was awarded the Elsevier Distinguished Scholar by the Society for marketing advances in the US for this work. He has also been involved in a number of conferences serving as the environmental/social marketing tracks as past AMA, ANZMAC, KAMS and AMS conferences.
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