This study investigates the persuasive advertising and informative advertising effects of CSR initiatives on corporate reputation and brand equity based on the evidence from the life insurance industry in Taiwan. The study finds, first, policyholders’ perceptions concerning the CSR initiatives of life insurance companies have positive effects on customer satisfaction, corporate reputation, and brand equity. Second, the advertising effects of the CSR initiatives on corporate reputation are only informative. Third, the impacts of CSR initiatives on brand equity include informative advertising and persuasive advertising effects. This study contributes the literature by explicit defining the advertising effects of CSR initiatives. Following the first step made by McWilliams et al. (Journal of Management Studies 43(1):1–18, 2006 ), the hypotheses of this study crystallize their conceptual framework. The obtained results in this research first identify the informative advertising effects and persuasive advertising effects of CSR initiatives.