Can political cookies leave a bad taste in one’s mouth? Political ideology influences taste

Aner Tal, Yaniv Gvili, Moty Amar, Brian Wansink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to examine whether companies’ donations to political parties can impact product experience, specifically taste. Design/methodology/approach: Research design consists of four studies; three online, one in person. Participants were shown a cookie (Studies 1-3) or cereal (Study 4) and told that the producing company donated to either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party (Studies 1-3) or an unspecified party (Study 4). Findings: Participants rated food products as less tasty if told they came from a company that donated to a party they object to. These effects were shown to be mediated by moral disgust (Study 3). Effects were restricted to taste and willingness to buy (Study 4), with no effects on other positive product dimensions. Research limitations/implications: The studies provide a first piece of evidence that political donations by companies can negatively impact product experience. This can translate to purchase decisions through an emotional, rather than calculated, route. Practical implications: Companies should be careful about making donations some of their consumers may find objectionable. This might impact both purchase and consumption decisions, as well as post-consumption word-of-mouth. Originality/value: Companies’ political involvement can negatively impact subjective product experience, even though such information has no bearing on product quality. The current findings demonstrate that alterations in subjective product quality may underlie alterations in consumer decision-making because of ideologically tinged information, and reveals moral disgust as the mechanism underlying these effects. In this, it provides a first demonstration that even mild ideological information that is not globally bad or inherently immoral can generate moral disgust, and that such effects depend on consumers’ own attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2175-2191
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
Volume51
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Disgust
  • Evaluation
  • Food
  • Moral
  • Politics
  • Taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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