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Open Access Publications from the University of California

When Good Brands Do Bad


This article reports results from a longitudinal field experiment examining the evolution of consumer-brand relationships. Development patterns differed, whereby relationships with sincere brands deepened over time in line with friendship templates, and relationships with exciting brands evinced a trajectory characteristic of short-lived flings. These patterns held only when the relationship proceededwithout a transgression. Relationships with sincere brands suffered in the wake of transgressions, whereas relationships with exciting brands surprisingly showed signs of reinvigoration after such transgressions. Inferences concerning the brand’s partner quality mediated the results. Findings suggest a dynamic construal of brand personality, greater attention to interrupt events, and consideration of the relationship contracts formed at the hands of different brands.

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