While globalization has made it easier to consume foreign products, consumption decisions are rarely straightforward. Both love and hate relationships between consumers and countries exist and can even coexist. This paper aims to gain a better understanding of how positive/negative and general/specific consumer attitudes impact foreign product judgment and ownership. An integrative model explores the predictive power of affinity, animosity, cosmopolitanism and ethnocentrism simultaneously. Specifically, the authors investigate a paradoxical “tug of war” which takes place inside consumer minds – the coexistence of affinity and animosity toward the same country.
Using a quantitative approach, the authors analyze data from 202 consumers and test it in intra-national and international contexts.
The results demonstrate the importance of an integrative model that takes into account opposing impacts on consumer behavior. Additionally, the data reveal that affinity and animosity are not bi-polar endpoints on a continuum. Finally, affinity outweighs animosity with respect to impacting product judgment and ownership.
The study was conducted in Israel. Hence, replications in other multi-cultural countries are needed.
Marketers can use a segmentation matrix to target audiences based on the existing “attitudinal mix” in their focal markets. Marketers can use the affinity drivers identified here to overcome animosity.
The “tug of war” model advances the animosity model, as it implies that to use attitudinal data theoretically and practically, there is a need to account for a full spectrum of general and country-specific attitudes. Affinity was tested for the first time within national borders.
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