Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Marketing (MRKT)

First Advisor

Mitchell Hamilton


To increase involvement of underrepresented groups in stereotyped domains (e.g., urban youth in college), marketers frequently utilize campaigns that include counter-stereotypical stimuli (e.g., a college recruitment advertisement featuring an urban youth). Existing literature on counter-stereotypical advertising suggests that contingency cues (i.e., third-party stereotypes that positively link the group to the domain) may strengthen the advertising campaign. Additionally, existing research has shown that authenticity and credibility influence the effectiveness of such campaigns. However, it may be more difficult to convince members of a subculture (e.g., urban youth with street smarts) that an advertisement containing subcultural symbolism is authentic and credible, unless the marketer has a nuanced understanding of the subculture. Conversely, for non-subculture members, what is perceived to be authentic is often rooted in cultural stereotypes. This research explores the influence of authenticity and credibility on the effectiveness of counter-stereotypical advertisements that use contingency cues to attract subculture members. An experiment was conducted with a counter-stereotypical advertisement that sought to increase urban youth representation at a university by incorporating a contingency cue (i.e., street smarts). For members of the subculture (i.e., people with high street smarts), the contingency cue had a negative effect on the success of the advertisement, whereas it had a positive effect for non-subculture members (i.e., people with low street smarts). The results of this study suggest that if the contingency cue is not perceived as authentic and credible by the targeted subcultural group, the advertisement may be evaluated negatively by members of that group. The findings contribute to both theory and practice.

Included in

Marketing Commons