May 17, 2006
Cynical Consumers and Brand Antipathy
By Eric Goldman
Interesting article in the NYT about negative consumer attitudes towards brands. The article says that "cynical consumers [desire] not simply to avoid companies and brands they dislike but also to punish them." Thus, consumers may use their dollars to vote against brands by transacting with the brand's competitors. At the same time, cynical consumers "demonstrated very strong brand loyalty to the few companies they could trust."
Trademark law is built around a brand's power to attract, but trademark law doesn't really account for brands' repellent power, and this may be a potentially significant omission. As the article suggests, there may be a double-whammy when a brand loses a consumer's trust--not only does the brand lose the consumer's dollars, but competitors may be a direct beneficiary regardless of the competitor's substantive merits.
Posted by Eric at May 17, 2006 10:22 AM | Trademark
This study seems like a ringing endorsement for anti-dilution laws...
Posted by: Michael Risch at May 19, 2006 09:59 AM
Funny, I would have argued the opposite! This study suggests that maybe we are overly protective of famous brands by treating them as cherished when maybe they are reviled and undilutable... Eric.
Posted by: Eric Goldman at July 31, 2006 09:39 PM