Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2019

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Moein Khanlari

Second Advisor

Bruce Pfeiffer


Brands are entering an era where brand activism and corporate social responsibility strategies are holding a large influence on consumer purchase decision making, rather than the traditional brand product marketing. A major distribution outlet for the rising brand activism strategy is through social media, where users can directly interact with brands and other users surrounding major issues. Higher engagement with such activism campaigns suggests more consumer support for the brand, leading to higher sales performance potential. This study examines the influence of brand activism campaign qualities on social media engagement, specifically on the Twitter platform. Tweets for 8 different brands – Nike, Reebok, Under Armour, Puma, Always, Yoplait, Procter & Gamble, and Airbnb – were collected using RStudio and Twitter APIs and dissected based on their association to the brand’s activism campaign. A survey was also distributed to gather data on several characteristics for each campaign. A Poisson regression was used to analyze the relationship between social media engagement metrics – favorites and retweets – and the characteristics of tweets and campaigns. Brands that are looking to contribute to the activism space, particularly on Twitter, should produce content that is geared towards individuals, rather than society as a whole. Higher engagement will be generated by campaigns that focus on causes with longer-term impact, in addition to campaigns that target both genders rather than being gender specific.