PurposeThe purpose of the present research is firstly to assess the financial education’s effectiveness, examining how a specific communication regarding the use of money could help new consumers from low-income families avoid insolvency. The second is to analyse the impact of this CSR activity on a Brazilian bank’s image.Design/methodology/approachThe research employed a qualitative methodology based on in-depth interviews using three advertising films, which served as an enhanced element to prompt students to evaluate the discourse of sensible use of money and credit and the bank’s image.FindingsThe results showed that the students are very receptive to the ideas shown by the bank advertising films. Nevertheless, the interviewees showed a certain degree of suspicion toward the initiative and intentions of the bank. The perceived corporate image was clearly ambiguous, with the financial institution showing its advertising film about the careful use of money, in complete contrast to actual bank branch practices, in which employees offer and encourage young students from low-income families to get loans and credit cards. The bank became more socially responsible merely to cut costs and as a consequence did not improve its image.Practical implicationsFor CSR in banks to be real and have a positive impact on society, the authors suggest that the bank enter into a cooperation or sponsorship agreement with the federal government or any public sector institution or NGO’s. The form, the arguments and the language of the bank’s financial education campaign examined in this article seemed to be capable of serving social purposes or benefiting society.Originality/valueThe article expands studies on CSR in developing countries and of attitudes towards it in the emerging middle class, two issues that have received scant attention. The study reinforces Carroll and Shabana`s view (2010) that companies are becoming more socially responsible merely to cut costs and Porter and Kramer`s call that in order to be really strategic the action must not appear to be mitigating the very harm it has caused.
Social Responsibility Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2016
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