Effects of Lower and Higher Quality Brand Versions on Brand Evaluation: an Opponent-Process Model Plus Differential Brand-Version Weighting

Timothy Heath, Miami University, USA
Devon DelVecchio, Miami University, USA
Michael McCarthy, Miami University, USA
Subimal Chatterjee, Binghamton University, USA
This study tests the effects of flagship brands such as Giovanni’s pasta sauce (fictitious) and Ruby Tuesday restaurants (real) offering higher-quality versions (e.g., Giovanni’s Magnifico) or lower-quality versions (e.g., Ruby Tuesday’s Corner Diner). A brand-quality asymmetry emerges on measures ranging from brand choice to brand attitude to perceptions of brand expertise, innovativeness, and prestige: Higher-quality versions help brands more than lower-quality versions hurt them. Theory and results suggest the asymmetry arises in part from opponent processes introduced when brands offer lower-quality versions (i.e., the negative effects of associating the brand with lower quality are offset by the positive effects of signaling greater expertise and/or innovativeness), and in part from consumer tendencies to see lower-quality versions as less relevant to brand evaluation than higher-quality versions.
[ to cite ]:
Timothy Heath, Devon DelVecchio, Michael McCarthy, and Subimal Chatterjee (2009) ,"Effects of Lower and Higher Quality Brand Versions on Brand Evaluation: an Opponent-Process Model Plus Differential Brand-Version Weighting", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 573-574.