Study confirms: Some people are way too invested in their favorite brand

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Chris Rawson
August 18th, 2011
In this article: Apple, brand, cult, study, survey
Study confirms: Some people are way too invested in their favorite brand

Did you weep into your cornflakes over Antennagate last year? Me either, but a new study suggests that some people might have. According to Ars Technica, researchers at the University of Illinois discovered that attacks upon people's favorite brands can be perceived as attacks against their self image.

The study claims that people with high "self-brand connections" were more likely to perceive personal psychological injury when their brand was attacked, while those same people were likely to gloss over or ignore negative news concerning their brand.

We at TUAW get accused of this kind of behavior all the time, naturally. All of our writers own multiple Apple products. Our benevolent corporate overlords at AOL (not, as many have claimed, Apple itself) pay us a modest sum to write about them. Does this mean that I lunge for the Prozac every time some Android-plugging pundit insists that the iPhone is "dead in the water?" Nope. When various pundits go out of their way to slam Apple and prop up the competition by making outlandish, unsupportable, and linkbaity claims, what depresses me isn't that it's an assault on Apple, but an assault on logic.

Another common criticism that some of our more fervently anti-Apple commenters regularly like to toss at us is that we never report any negative news about Apple and spin everything to make the company look favorable and pristine. Just from my own back catalog of posts I can tell you that's far from the case. Here's some proof:

Of course, stepping up to defend myself and TUAW like this is just what you'd expect a "fanboy" to do, right? And the scientific minds behind Cracked would point out that poo-pooing study results like those from U of Illinois is extremely common, that we all delude ourselves we're above that sort of thing. "Certainly," we'll say, "there is an Apple cult, but I'm too self-aware to be part of it. This is why I stay with Apple, not because I salivate every time I see a precision-crafted piece of unibody aluminum."

I will say that my loyalty to any company goes only so far. My PlayStation 3 died yesterday as a result of a well-known manufacturing defect, and my PlayStation 2 died an untimely death only four years ago because of yet another manufacturing issue. Both happened well outside of Sony's pitiful warranty period, so all repair/replacement costs came out of my own pocket. So guess what? I'm not buying a PlayStation 4. Sony, you and me, we're done professionally.

As for Apple and its products, the second a single company comes out with a notebook better than a MacBook Pro or Air, and a phone better than an iPhone, and a tablet better than an iPad, and an operating system better than OS X, and customer service better than AppleCare, and integrates it all so tightly that from top to bottom there's no mistaking the quality of the products or the experience of using them, I will kick Apple to the curb without regret.

I mean, wouldn't you? ...No? Pfft, fanboy.

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