Examines the effects of extending master brands — brands which so dominate a product category that they are almost synonymous with it. Three factors were experimentally manipulated — category dominance, the success of an extension, and the similarity between the extended and original products. The results indicated that a brand’s association with its original product category was diluted when an extension failed. This effect was moderated by category dominance prior to the extension. Specifically, the dilution effect was less pronounced for master brands than for brands which were less dominant in a product category. However, the similarity between the extended and original product categories did not moderate the dilution effects of master and less dominant brand extensions.
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