A flurry of advertising campaigns, legislative attempts to regulate digital modification (e.g., required disclaimers about digital modification required in France and other countries), and social movements like #MeToo have coincided with growing consumer desire for socially conscious advertising. The trend of creating socially conscious advertising is in line with consumer demand, but empirical evidence for how such advertising may affect consumer attitudes and behavior is lacking. This study investigates the role of perceived authenticity in one area of socially conscious advertising strategy. Interestingly, results indicate that while perceived authenticity of a model in an Instagram campaign may not lead to increased engagement on social media, it does improve attitude toward the brand. These results point to a potential disconnect between social media engagement with advertising content and attitudes toward the brand (i.e., high social media engagement is not always linked to brand attitude).
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