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No matter what you do, I still love you: an examination of consumer reaction to brand transgressions

Eric Kennedy (Department of Marketing, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA)
Francisco Guzmán (Department of Marketing and Logistics, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 19 June 2020

Issue publication date: 11 May 2021




This paper aims to examine the impact that brand transgressions, and the effect of an apology or lack thereof, have on consumers’ intentions to co-create with a brand, perceived brand equity and brand love, and compares these effects on brands that are viewed positively versus brands that are viewed negatively.


Two studies were deployed. In the first study, a 2 × 2 between subjects factorial design using fictitious brands is used to test the hypotheses. The second study seeks to replicate the findings of the first study by using a brand connected to a real retailer.


Regardless of a brand issuing an apology or not, co-creation, higher perceived brand equity and increased levels of brand love, are more likely to occur when a consumer views a brand as being positive versus negative. However, the results vary when the consumer has a prior level of knowledge and a stronger relationship with a brand.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focuses on consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 years. While the findings of Study 1 are mostly replicated in Study 2, a more generalizable sample could create additional insights into the impact of brand transgressions and issuing or not an apology.


The findings of this paper add to the current literature on co-creation, brand equity, brand love and theory of reasoned action, in terms of the impact of an apology, or lack thereof, on brand transgressions and consequent consumer responses.



Kennedy, E. and Guzmán, F. (2021), "No matter what you do, I still love you: an examination of consumer reaction to brand transgressions", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 594-608.



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