On the Negative Consequences of Thinking About Häagen-Dazs Cottage Cheese: Low-Fit Brand Extensions and Self-Regulatory Depletion
Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management
December 8, 2011
Many firms seek to leverage successful brands by introducing brand extensions. These extensions vary in the extent to which they fit with the original brand image, ranging from high-fit (e.g., BMW driving gloves) to low-fit (e.g., BMW skateboards) to, in some cases, extremely low-fit (e.g., BMW cosmetics bags). Where previous work has focused on how fit influences consumers’ evaluations of the extension, this paper explores the cognitive consequences that evaluating low-fit extensions have for consumers. Across four studies, we find that evaluating low-fit extensions depletes consumers’ cognitive resources relative to evaluating high-fit extensions, and explore some of the implications that this effect has for consumer choice. In support of our theoretical account, we show that low-fit extensions only deplete consumers who try to reconcile the extension with the brand and that relaxing the standard of what constitutes fit lowers the cognitive costs of evaluating low-fit extensions, thereby reducing depletion effects.
Keywords: brand extension evaluations, self-regulation
Date posted: December 8, 2011 ; Last revised: June 29, 2016