Purpose – This paper aims to view the role of religiosity in moderating the relationship between ego-defensive function of Muslim consumers’ and attitude toward advertising of controversial product. There is a rising concern among Muslim consumers’ with regards to the halal status of many food outlets in Malaysia. This came out because many food operators do not understand what halal really means. Many of them are from Kopitiams food and beverages industry. Design/methodology/approach – Survey method was used for the purpose of data collection in April 2014, and quantitative approach has been used as well. This study applied functional theory of attitudes to support this framework. Respondents consisted of 375 Muslim consumers’ in Malaysia. Findings – The paper provides empirical insights about how religiosity moderates the relationship between ego-defensive function and consumer attitude toward advertising. Consumers with a high level of religiosity are more likely to respond less favorably toward the advertising, while consumers who have a low level of religiosity are more likely to respond more favorably toward the advertisement. In addition, it can be postulated that religiosity reduces negative effects of ego-defensive function. Practical implications – The fact that religious groups are more organized, equipped and motivated to register their concern, demands better understanding of such groups by marketers. To avoid any controversies, or potential business loss, a better understanding of what could ignite their reaction seems to be an appropriate preventive strategy. Originality/value – Only a few studies directly examined the influence of religion on marketing communication. The effects of religion on the advertising of controversial products remain largely unstudied to date. Therefore, this paper fills the gap in the research area.
Journal of Islamic Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 7, 2016