A substantial body of research has investigated consumer perceptions of a product based on the country where it originated (CoO). Such judgments have been shown to fluctuate due to a number of factors, among them changes in political conditions. The current research shows that a key factor in CoO-based evaluations of products is the image of respective national leaders. In two experimental studies, conducted in the United States, we found that exposure to a news article that positively (vs. negatively) characterizes a foreign leader led to more positive perceptions of that leader's country; more positive evaluations of products and brands manufactured there; and thereby also to greater willingness to purchase these products. The results amply demonstrate that the news coverage of modern leaders can significantly affect their national trade, and that therefore the responsibility they carry may extend beyond their official role as political figures.
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- national leaders
- political personalization
- purchase intentions
- source cues