Exploring the Role of Ventriloquism in Warranting Organizational Perceptions

Sponsored Content for Dummies


  • Matthew Edor Illinois State University
  • Millicent Elewosi Illinois State University
  • Gabriela Gomes Illinois State University
  • Daria Parfenova Illinois State University
  • Eshrat Rahman Illinois State University
  • Hunter Thomas Illinois State University
  • Caleb Carr Illinois State University




sponsorship, ad, identity, social media, influencer


This research looks at sponsored content through the lens of warranting theory. Brands often engage in activities to influence and manipulate others’ statements about them. These activities—specifically organizations’ use of sponsored content and promotions—enable exploring previously-untested components of warranting theory. An experiment exposed N = 91 college-aged individuals to an online tweet about a restaurant made either by the organization itself (first party), an unassociated individual (third party), or an individual indicating their post was an advertisement sponsored by the organization (external ventriloquism, “puppet,” or “dummy”). Findings reveal a partial-mediation effect, whereby both the claimant and the warranting value of the claim affected perceptions of the restaurant’s quality; but warranting value did not differ among message posters. Findings are discussed with respect to warranting theory and for practitioners.




How to Cite

Edor, M., Elewosi, M., Gomes, G., Parfenova, D., Rahman, E., Thomas, H., & Carr, C. (2023). Exploring the Role of Ventriloquism in Warranting Organizational Perceptions: Sponsored Content for Dummies. Human Communication & Technology, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.17161/hct.v3i2.18719