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The Safety of Objects: Materialism, Existential Insecurity, and Brand Connection

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  • Aric Rindfleisch
  • James E. Burroughs
  • Nancy Wong

Abstract

Over the past 2 decades, a large body of research has examined how materialism is formed and how this value influences well-being. Although these studies have substantially contributed to our understanding of materialism, they shed little light on this value's relationship to consumer behavior. Our research seeks to address this gap by examining the influence of materialism on self- and communal-brand connections. We ground our conceptualization in terror management theory and suggest that materialistic individuals form strong connections to their brands as a response to existential insecurity. We test this premise by conducting a national survey among 314 adults as well as an experiment among 125 college students. Our results provide broad support for our thesis and suggest that the fear of death encourages materialistic individuals to form strong connections with their brands. (c) 2008 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Consumer Research.

Volume (Year): 36 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (06)
Pages: 1-16

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jconrs:v:36:y:2009:i:1:p:1-16

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JCR/

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Cited by:
  1. C. Giannetti & R. Orsini, 2013. "Mortality Salience, Self-esteem and Status Seeking," Working Papers wp910, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  2. Zaleskiewicz, Tomasz & Gasiorowska, Agata & Kesebir, Pelin & Luszczynska, Aleksandra & Pyszczynski, Tom, 2013. "Money and the fear of death: The symbolic power of money as an existential anxiety buffer," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 55-67.
  3. Stillman, Tyler F. & Fincham, Frank D. & Vohs, Kathleen D. & Lambert, Nathaniel M. & Phillips, Christa A., 2012. "The material and immaterial in conflict: Spirituality reduces conspicuous consumption," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-7.
  4. Zhou, Ling & Wang, Tao & Zhang, Qin & Mou, Yupeng, 2013. "Consumer insecurity and preference for nostalgic products: Evidence from China," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(12), pages 2406-2411.
  5. M. Sirgy & Eda Gurel-Atay & Dave Webb & Muris Cicic & Melika Husic & Ahmet Ekici & Andreas Herrmann & Ibrahim Hegazy & Dong-Jin Lee & J. Johar, 2012. "Linking Advertising, Materialism, and Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 107(1), pages 79-101, May.
  6. Liselot Hudders & Mario Pandelaere, 2012. "The Silver Lining of Materialism: The Impact of Luxury Consumption on Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 411-437, June.
  7. He, Hongwei & Li, Yan & Harris, Lloyd, 2012. "Social identity perspective on brand loyalty," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 648-657.
  8. Rares MOCANU, 2013. "Brand Image as a Function of Self-Image and Self-Brand Connection," Management Dynamics in the Knowledge Economy Journal, College of Management, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, vol. 1(3), pages 387-408, December.
  9. Levy, Sidney J. & Kellstadt, Charles H., 2012. "Int├Ęgraphy: A multi-method approach to situational analysis," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(7), pages 1073-1077.
  10. C. Giannetti & R. Orsini, 2013. "Being nice with the experimenter?," Working Papers wp913, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  11. Stokburger-Sauer, Nicola E. & Teichmann, Karin, 2013. "Is luxury just a female thing? The role of gender in luxury brand consumption," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(7), pages 889-896.
  12. Ronald Hill & Kelly Martin & Lan Chaplin, 2012. "A tale of two marketplaces: Consumption restriction, social comparison, and life satisfaction," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 731-744, September.

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