Social Responsibility Marketing: The Sudden Rise and Fall of a Sporting Goods Company


In July 2021, Fujian Hongxing ERKE Sporting Goods Co., Ltd. (ERKE) captured the attention of millions of Chinese people. After the largest rainstorm in its history hit Henan Province, ERKE donated CNY 50 million (about USD 8 million) in disaster relief supplies. Consumers expressed goodwill by impulse purchases of ERKE products at a level dubbed “crazy consumption” and by a sharp spike in positive social media activity. Both were short-lived. When ERKE made a second donation of supplies worth CNY 20 million in October, public response was less positive. The donations sparked heated social media discussion. This case invites students to explore the rise and fall of the crazy consumption effect in the context of the multifaceted nature of socially responsible donations and their relationship to a company’s brand image. It challenges them to advise ERKE on the elements of building a sustainable brand image in a future where social media continues to be important.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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