Unexpected Benefits of Being Less Rather Than More Similar: the Influence of Consumer Mindset and Brand Presence on Copycat Evaluation

Femke van Horen, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Rik Pieters, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Diederik A. Stapel, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Copycats imitate the features of incumbent brands to free-ride on their equity. The dominant idea is that the copycat gains more to the extent that its similarity to the incumbent brand increases. In contrast, three studies demonstrate that evaluation of the copycat is critically dependent on the mindset of the consumer and the presence of the incumbent. When a ‘judge’ mindset is activated or when the incumbent is present, highly similar copycats are actually evaluated less positively than moderately similar copycats are. Our results indicate that subtly similar copycats can be as or even more damaging than the blatantly similar copycats that have been focused upon mostly in marketing and law.
[ to cite ]:
Femke van Horen, Rik Pieters, and Diederik A. Stapel (2009) ,"Unexpected Benefits of Being Less Rather Than More Similar: the Influence of Consumer Mindset and Brand Presence on Copycat Evaluation", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 755-756.