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.
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