Consumer distrust is particularly salient in the context of the current mortgage crisis, and mortgage companies are looking for ways to change their image and regain consumer confidence. This study examines whether advertisements portraying a message of corporate social responsibility (CSR) might help financial institutions in enhancing consumer perceptions of the company. One hundred subjects were randomly selected from among the faculty and staff of a large American university. Subjects were exposed to advertisements, with or without a CSR message, for two well-known service organizations (JP Morgan Chase and Verizon). Results suggest that consumers harbor negative attitudes toward mortgage companies and skepticism about advertising from these companies, but that the inclusion of a CSR message can mitigate these effects, resulting in improved attitudes toward the company. Managerial implications are discussed.
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