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Brand Or Bae: Pick One

Elizabeth Goldstein August 22, 2017 August 22nd, 2017

Remember The Cola Wars? They are alive and well. Only now they are happening on a subconscious level between you and your longterm partner.

A recent study entitled “Coke vs. Pepsi: Brand Compatibility, Relationship Power, and Life Satisfaction,” published in the Journal of Consumer Research, concludes that gaps in soft drink preferences tends to lead to relationship hardships.

So compatibility is not about having a similar background, religion or education, says researcher Gavan Fitzsimons, a marketing professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. “But if we find those things don’t explain how happy you are in life nearly as much as this notion of brand compatibility.”

Researchers describe this “robust” impact brand preferences have on the wellbeing of a relationship to the fact that these products are part of our lives on a daily basis. Power dynamics play a key part in relationship happiness.

“If you are lower in relationship power and have different brand preferences than your partner, you’re probably going to find yourself stuck with your partner’s favorite brands, over and over again,” states lead author Danielle Brick, formerly of Duke School of Business and now at the University of New Hampshire.

Brick goes on, “this could lead to a death-by-a-thousand cuts feeling. Most couples won’t break up over brand incompatibility, but it leads to the low power partner becoming less and less happy.”

Sad. Pepsi fans need to hold their ground better!

But this is not just over cola conflicts. Studies conducted over brand preferences in coffee, chocolate, beer, and automobiles produce similar results

“It’s an extremely robust effect, we found it over and over again,” said Fitzsimons. “People who are looking for love should maybe consider including brand preferences on their dating profiles.” Or maybe just only buying generic and ignoring the impending trouble that comes with out-of-balance power dynamics.

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