Martin Reimann, Sandra Nuñez, Raquel Castaño

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Can close brand relationships insulate against physical pain? The idea that close interpersonal relationships help people cope with pain has received increasing support in social psychology. It is unknown, however, whether close brand relationships can do the same and, if so, why. Seven studies are reported here to fill this knowledge gap. Experiments 1a and 1b are the first to demonstrate that when confronted with a loved brand (vs. control), consumers are able to insulate themselves against physical pain. Experiment 2 provides evidence that the paininsulating effectiveness of close brand relationships is not just due to brands representing mere distractions. Using a multistudy, multimethod approach to test for mediation, experiments 3 through 5 provide convergent empirical support for the hypothesis that feelings of social connectedness mediate the effect of close brand relationships on pain. Study 6 categorizes the 1,105 brand love essays written by participants in our experiments to show that loved brands provide feelings of social connectedness, mostly metaphorically and indirectly and, to a lesser extent, directly. In summary, close brand relationships can help insulate consumers against physical pain due to brands' ability to provide a semblance of social connectedness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-691
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Brand love
  • Close brand relationships
  • Feelings of social connectedness
  • Marketing analgesics
  • Physical pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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