Rosellina Ferraro, Amna Kirmani, Ted Matherly (2013), Journal of Marketing Research, 50, 4, 477-488. (Preprint)

Conspicuous brand usage, defined as attention-getting use of a brand, causes brand dilution under certain conditions. This research examines changes in observers’ attitudes toward a brand after seeing a brand user engaged in conspicuous use of the brand. The authors propose that observers infer that a consumer engaged in conspicuous brand usage is driven by an ulterior motive of impression management. When observers have low self-brand connection, they exhibit less favorable attitudes toward both the brand user and the brand. In contrast, observers with high self-brand connection maintain their favorable view of the brand in the face of a conspicuous brand user. Three studies demonstrate the brand dilution effect of conspicuous brand usage.

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