Mitigating irrational reputational damage to marine products from radiation contamination
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Many negative influences from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, the subsequent tsunami, and Fukushima disaster, persist in the devastated areas, including reputational damage to the Japanese fishers. The Sanriku brand of wakame seaweed has experienced irrational reputational damage even though almost all of their products have tested negative for radioactivity. To recover from such damage, we tested the effectiveness of countermeasure promotions by measuring the effects of displayed elements on packaging and at a point of purchase (POP) display. Direct counter-promotion, such as mentioning radioactivity levels in seafood, can potentially cause adverse effects by reminding consumers of the radioactive contamination. Accordingly, we analyzed the direct effects of information about radioactive safety and the indirect effects of the information using images of a girl, aquaculture farmers, and a cook and labels of safety and security, inspection, and recovery from the earthquake disaster to identify which elements effectively mitigate irrational reputational damage. We employed conjoint analysis through a web survey. The results indicate that images and labels increase consumer utility without adverse effects. Furthermore, the labels of safety and security and inspection substitute the direct effect of publicizing the radioactivity test results.
KeywordsPromotion strategy Counterpropaganda Information treatment The Fukushima disaster Conjoint analysis Consumer preference
This study is funded mainly by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Council as part of the “Development research of sustainable production system in fisheries and aquacultures” project. The pictures were used with approval from the Iwate Prefecture Commerce and Marketing Division and Fisheries Promotion Division. We are grateful for the cooperation of these organizations.
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