Award Date

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Journalism and Media Studies

First Committee Member

Oleysa Venger

Second Committee Member

Lawrence Mullen

Third Committee Member

Paul Traudt

Number of Pages



Corporations around the globe invest a considerable amount of resources in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. A delicate challenge for practitioners of this growing business practice is effectively leveraging media to communicate CSR to encourage positive perceptions of that brand from the public. Grounded in legitimacy theory, this study seeks to determine the most effective medium to communicate companies’ environmental and social CSR to increase positive perceptions. The research is operationalized through a quasi-experimental design that deployed two sets of questionnaires containing an advertisement and publicity stimuli depicting a brand’s environmental or social CSR to a random population. Participants’ responses provided data on consumers' CSR perception, involvement, trust, and recommendation likelihood. Environmental CSR advertisements communicate CSR initiatives more effectively to raise levels of positive perceptions in terms of that brand’s environmental sponsorship, resource allotment, contribution and impact perspective. Additionally, environmental CSR advertisement encourages higher levels of involvement in terms of concern and value; trust in regards to CSR sincerity; and recommendation likelihood in respect to both brand word of mouth and recommendation and CSR word of mouth and recommendation.


Advertisement; Corporate Social Responsibility; CSR; Media; Publicity





Included in

Communication Commons