Brand Bigotry

"Marketers pay a lot of attention to brand loyalty and cultdom and devotion. But what about its opposite number -- the brands you simply refuse to consider consuming?"

Rob Walker's piece in December's Fast Company, Just Say No, is a fascinating perspective on the brand loyalty idea. Basically, we all hear about "Lovemarks," those brands with abnormal consumer affinity, but what about the opposite side of that coin? What about the brands that are vehemently disliked?

I Googled "brand bigot" and found a plethora of conversations in which the term was used. One fascinating observation is that brand bigotry is not confined to the usual suspects (Apple/MS, Nike/adidas, Coke/Pepsi, Ford/Chevy, Harley/Honda, etc.). One's affinity for a brand, and subsequent aversion to another, can be applied to any product, even something as mudane as UV Bulbs.
Which leads me to agree with Marketing Fishbowl, who attributes brand bigotry to direct experience (i.e., conditioning) with specific brands. Some products simply leave a bad taste in your mouth as a consumer - poor fit, questionable quality, etc. This theory can be applied to any product.

I find it fascinating that in some of these posts, people want to make sure they aren't labeled as a brand bigot, as if the term "bigot" applied to anything is inherently shameful. If you truly hate a brand for legitimate reasons, that's not your fault, its the company's fault (versus say, racial bigotry). Their job is to get you to like their products. I think being a brand bigot means you're a discriminating consumer, which will drive companies to improve themselves to win you over. That's a good thing, not a bad thing.

Brand bigotry in my life?
  • My wife is a brand bigot against Starbucks coffee that you buy in a Starbucks store (Starsucks is the term I believe she uses). She prefers independent coffee roasters or Peet's.
  • I'm a brand bigot with Pepsi, I love Coke
  • Although I'm typing on one now, I'm a Dell bigot - this will be my last purchase.
  • I used to be a bigot against any tennis racquet that wasn't a Head. But I've been using a Wilson racquet and like it, so my horizons have officially broadened.
Tell us about your brand bigotry.

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