The Eyes Have It: How a Car's Face Influences Consumer Categorization and Evaluation of Product Line Extensions
Article first published online: 5 JAN 2012
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Psychology & Marketing
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages 36–51, January 2012
How to Cite
Keaveney, S. M., Herrmann, A., Befurt, R. and Landwehr, J. R. (2012), The Eyes Have It: How a Car's Face Influences Consumer Categorization and Evaluation of Product Line Extensions. Psychol. Mark., 29: 36–51. doi: 10.1002/mar.20501
- Issue published online: 5 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 5 JAN 2012
- Institute of International Business, Business School, University of Colorado Denver
This research focuses on a previously unexamined risk associated with the widely used new product development strategy of line extensions. Specifically, it explores consumer reactions when line extensions become too visually similar and examines both short-term and longer term strategies for solving the problem. Examined in the context of consumer durables, specifically, automobiles, the results show that consumers who make categorization mistakes when trying to distinguish between two visually similar product lines have more negative attitudes not only toward the product but also toward the parent brand. The results of Study 1 confirm that providing a design vocabulary that articulates the car's design features is effective in reducing consumer's categorization mistakes. In addition, results of Study 2 indicate that changes to the car's “eyes” (headlights) are more effective than changes to the car's “mouth” (grille) in helping consumers to differentiate among cars in the line.