Silence is silver, talking is gold
: how embedded premium promotions influence the conversational potential of products and services

  • Lukas Josef Zellmer (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


An embedded premium (EP) is a charity incentive, a purchase-contingent donation to a social cause, that when added on to a product or service, offers consumers the opportunity to behave prosocially through consumption. Previous research has demonstrated how EPs positively impact transaction-related outcomes such as willingness to pay. This thesis attempts to extend research to a novel domain of major relevance to firms – that of word of mouth (WOM). Based on the notion that individuals seek conspicuous means to draw attention to their good deeds, this study conceptualizes WOM as one such mean that consumers may capitalize on to highlight their prosocial consumption patterns. Therefore, this works tests whether consumers perceive purchases with EP to be more conducive to WOM than identical purchases without EP. The results of a between-subjects experiment, implemented with a recall-based approach, confirm that consumers are indeed more inclined to talk to others about a purchase when it involves a social cause. Furthermore, the study reveals that the additional conversational potential (CP) remains constant irrespective of the donation magnitude, which suggests that CP is invariant to promotion depth. Moreover, the findings uncover heterogeneity in effect size that might be explained by donation-related customer predispositions. Results indicate that the effect tends to be stronger for individuals with a high need for social status, a strong attitude towards helping others, and a pronounced warm glow motive. This work illustrates how conspicuous prosocial behavior manifests in consumption contexts and how EPs add value beyond what is already known.
Date of Award24 Jan 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMarta Bicho (Supervisor)


  • Embedded premium
  • Cause-related marketing
  • Conversational potential
  • Word of mouth
  • Conspicuous prosocial behavior
  • Impure altruism


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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