Hot and cold: How do consumers hate and forgive offending charity brands?

Chen Ren*, Dmytro Moisieiev, Padmali Rodrigo, Emma Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When brands transgress, consumers often react by hating them and sometimes forgiving them. Charity brands transgress, too, including serious transgressions of a sexual nature or against children. Charity brands contribute greatly to the economy, but differ from for-profit brands in their nature and do transgress; yet whether charity brands are hated and forgiven similarly to for-profit brands has not been researched adequately. Our study aimed to build a framework that demonstrates the antecedents of charity brand hate, the emotions associated with different types of charity brand hate and the behavioural consequences of charity brand hate, including brand forgiveness. We adopted a qualitative approach that involved collecting data from 26 semi-structured interviews and analysing it thematically. The findings of this study advance the current understanding of brand hate and brand forgiveness by identifying the emotional outcome (feeling of suspicion and hurt) and behavioural outcomes (distancing from charity brands and practising financial punishment) associated with charity brand transgressions. In the long term, interviewees display the intention to reconnect with charity brands and to forgive transgressing charity brands due to the benevolence associated with them. Therefore, we also contribute to the brand forgiveness literature by highlighting the nature of the forgiveness (forgiving is given to the charity brands, not the individual employees responsible) and the steps consumers take to forgive the charity brands (step one when charity brands fix their wrongdoing, and step two when charity brands continue helping people in need). Finally, we identified that brand switching (switching to donating to new charity brands offering similar support and help) is the behaviour consequence when charity brands are not forgiven.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1875
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Philanthropy and Marketing
Issue number3
Early online date3 Jul 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jul 2024

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