Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 253–269 | Cite as

Perceptions versus performance when managing extensions: new evidence about the role of fit between a parent brand and an extension

  • Robert E. CarterEmail author
  • David J. Curry
Original Empirical Research


The extant literature contends that a new product extension’s success is an increasing function of the parent brand’s quality and the degree of fit between the parent brand and extension. We develop theory to explore relationships between parent quality, image fit and functional fit. Each of these components should trigger positive pre-purchase associations from the parent. However, at the point of sale, high levels of functional fit are expected to increase the probability of substitution between parent and extension. To test this and related assertions, we augment UPC scanner data with perceptual measures for 42 matched parent–extension pairs. Findings confirm that high parent quality negatively impacts an extension’s sales when functional fit is high. Equally telling, low parent quality can actually increase an extension’s sales in some cases. We use our fitted model to present counter-factual experiments to show the magnitude of these increases or decreases under combinations of our key variables and extension type, line or brand. The combinations we explore occur frequently in-market.


Augmented scanner data Parent brand Brand extension Compensatory research Line extension Parent brand–extension fit (congruence) 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions from Chris Allen, Sharon McFarland, Michael Barone, and three anonymous reviewers. Correspondence regarding this manuscript should be directed to the first author.


  1. Aaker, D. A., & Keller, K. A. (1990). Consumer evaluations of brand extensions. Journal of Marketing, 54(1), 27–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, J. R. (1983). The architecture of cognition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bambauer-Sachse, S., Hüttl, V., & Gierl, H. (2011). Can advertising elements improve consumer evaluations of brand extensions with a moderate or low fit? Psychology & Marketing, 28(2), 205–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baumeister, R. F., Heatherton, T. F., & Tice, D. M. (1994). Losing control: How and why people fail at self-regulation. San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  5. Bhat, S., & Reddy, S. K. (2001). The impact of parent brand attribute associations and affect on brand extension evaluation. Journal of Business Research, 53(3), 111–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bottomley, P. A., & Holden, S. J. S. (2001). Do we really know how consumers evaluate brand extensions? Empirical generalizations based on secondary analysis of eight studies. Journal of Marketing Research, 38(4), 494–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boush, D. M., & Loken, B. (1991). A process-tracing study of brand extension evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research, 28(1), 16–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brocklebank, J. C., & Dickey, D. A. (2003). SAS for forecasting time series (2nd ed.). Cary: SAS Institute Inc.Google Scholar
  9. Bronnenberg, B. J., Dhar, S. K., & Dubé, J.-P. (2007). Consumer packaged goods in the United States: National brands, local branding. Journal of Marketing Research, 44(1), 4–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buil, I., Martínez, E., & de Chernatony, L. (2009). Brand extension effects on brand equity: A cross-national study. Journal of Euromarketing, 18, 71–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carver, C. S., & Scheier, M. F. (1981). Attention and self-regulation: A control theory approach to human behavior. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Christen, M., Gupta, S., Porter, J. C., Staelin, R., & Wittink, D. R. (1997). Using market-level data to understand promotion effects in a nonlinear model. Journal of Marketing Research, 34(3), 322–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cui, D., & Curry, D. J. (2005). Prediction in marketing using the support vector machine. Marketing Science, 24(4), 595–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Czellar, S. (2003). Consumer attitude toward brand extensions: An integrative model and research propositions. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 20(1), 97–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dacin, P. A., & Smith, D. C. (1994). The effect of brand portfolio characteristics on consumer evaluations of brand extensions. Journal of Marketing Research, 31(2), 229–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. DelVecchio, D., & Smith, D. C. (2005). Brand-extension price premiums: The effects of perceived fit and extension product category risk. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 33(2), 184–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dens, N., & Pelsmacker, P. D. (2010a). Attitudes toward the extension and parent brand in response to extension advertising. Journal of Business Research, 63(11), 1237–1244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dens, N., & Pelsmacker, P. D. (2010b). Advertising for extensions: Moderating effects of extension type, advertising strategy, and product category involvement on extension evaluation. Marketing Letters, 21(2), 175–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Erdem, T., & Swait, J. (1998). Brand equity as a signaling phenomenon. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 7(2), 131–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gefen, D., Straub, D. W., & Boudreau, M. C. (2000). Structural equation modeling and regression: guidelines for research practice. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 4, Article 7.Google Scholar
  21. Gerbing, D. W., & Anderson, J. C. (1988). An updated paradigm for scale development incorporating unidimensionality and its assessment. Journal of Marketing Research, 25(2), 186–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grime, I., Diamantopoulos, A., & Smith, G. (2002). Consumer evaluations of extensions and their effects on the core brand: Key issues and research propositions. European Journal of Marketing, 36(11/12), 1415–1438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guide, V. D. R., & Li, J. (2010). The potential for cannibalization of new products sales by remanufactured products. Decision Sciences, 41(3), 547–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hem, L. E., & Iversen, N. M. (2009). Effects of different types of perceived similarity and subjective knowledge in evaluations of brand extensions. International Journal of Marketing Research, 51(6), 797–818.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hennig-Thurau, T., Houston, M. B., & Heitjans, T. (2009). Conceptualizing and measuring the monetary value of brand extensions: The case of motion pictures. Journal of Marketing, 73(6), 167–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Herfindahl, O. C. (1950). Concentration in the U.S. steel industry. Dissertation, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  27. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica, 47(2), 263–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Keller, K. L. (1993). Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keller, K. L., & Aaker, D. A. (1992). The effects of sequential introduction of brand extensions. Journal of Marketing Research, 29(1), 35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kerin, R. A., Harvey, M. G., & Rothe, J. T. (1978). Cannibalism and new product development. Business Horizons, 21(5), 25–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Klink, R. R., & Smith, D. C. (2001). Threats to the external validity of brand extension research. Journal of Marketing Research, 38(3), 326–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lei, J., de Ruyter, K., & Wetzels, M. (2008). Consumer responses to vertical service line extensions. Journal of Retailing, 84(3), 268–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lilien, G. L., & Kotler, P. (1983). Marketing decision making: A model-building approach. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc.Google Scholar
  34. Lomax, W., & McWilliam, G. (2001). Consumer response to line extensions: Trial and cannibalisation effects. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(3/4), 391–406.Google Scholar
  35. MacKenzie, S. B., Podsakoff, P. M., & Jarvis, C. B. (2005). The problem of measurement model misspecification in behavioral and organizational research and some recommended solutions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(4), 710–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Malhotra, N. K. (2010). Marketing research: An applied orientation. New Jersey: Pearson.Google Scholar
  37. Mariadoss, B. J., Echambadi, R., Arnold, M. J., & Bindroo, V. (2010). An examination of the effects of perceived difficulty of manufacturing the extension product on brand extension attitudes. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 38(6), 704–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Martin, I. M., Stewart, D. W., & Matta, S. (2005). Branding strategies, marketing communication, and perceived brand meaning: The transfer of purposive, goal-oriented brand meaning to brand extensions. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science., 33(3), 275–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Martínez, E., Montaner, T., & Pina, J. M. (2009). Brand extension feedback: The role of advertising. Journal of Business Research, 62(3), 305–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mason, C. H., & Milne, G. R. (1994). An approach for identifying cannibalization within product line extensions and multi-brand strategies. Journal of Business Research, 31(2/3), 163–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McCarthy, M. S., Heath, T. B., & Milberg, S. J. (2001). New brands versus brand extensions, attitudes versus choice: Experimental evidence for theory and practice. Marketing Letters, 12(1), 75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nijssen, E. J. (1999). Success factors of line extensions of fast-moving consumer goods. European Journal of Marketing, 33(5/6), 450–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  44. Park, C. W., Milberg, S., & Lawson, R. (1991). Evaluation of brand extensions: The role of product feature similarity and brand concept consistency. Journal of Consumer Research, 18(2), 185–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Reddy, S. K., Holak, S. L., & Bhat, S. (1994). To extend or not to extend: Success determinants of line extensions. Journal of Marketing Research, 31(2), 243–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Reibstein, D. J., Day, G., & Wind, J. (2009). Guest Editorial: Is marketing academia losing its way? Journal of Marketing, 73(4), 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Salinas, E. M., & Perez, J. M. P. (2009). Modeling the brand extensions’ influence on brand image. Journal of Business Research, 62(1), 50–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shine, B. C., Park, J., & Wyer, R. S., Jr. (2007). Brand synergy effects in multiple brand extensions. Journal of Marketing Research, 44(4), 663–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smith, D. C., & Park, C. W. (1992). The effects of brand extensions on market share and advertising efficiency. Journal of Marketing Research, 29(3), 296–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. J. (1999). Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  51. Srinivasan, S. R., Ramakrishnan, S., & Grasman, S. E. (2005). Incorporating cannibalization models into demand forecasting. Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 23(5), 470–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Swaminathan, V., Fox, R. J., & Reddy, S. K. (2001). The impact of brand extension introduction on choice. Journal of Marketing, 65(4), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Taylor, V. A., & Bearden, W. O. (2002). The effects of price on brand extension evaluations: The moderating role of extension similarity. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 30(2), 131–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Völckner, F., & Sattler, H. (2006). Drivers of brand extension success. Journal of Marketing, 70(2), 18–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Völckner, F., & Sattler, H. (2007). Empirical generalizability of consumer evaluations of brand extensions. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 24(2), 149–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yeung, C. W. M., & Wyer, R. S., Jr. (2005). Does loving a brand mean loving its products? The role of brand-elicited affect in brand extension evaluations. Journal of Marketing Research, 42(4), 495–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marketing Department, College of BusinessUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.College of BusinessUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

Personalised recommendations