When high similarity copycats lose and moderate similarity copycats gain: The impact of comparative evaluation

F. van Horen, R. Pieters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Copycats imitate features of leading brands to free ride on their equity. The prevailing belief is that the more similar copycats are to the leader brand, the more positive their evaluation is, and thus the more they free ride. Three studies demonstrate when the reverse holds true: Moderate-similarity copycats are actually evaluated more positively than high-similarity copycats when evaluation takes place comparatively, such as when the leader brand is present rather than absent. The results demonstrate that blatant copycats can be less and subtle copycats can be more perilous than is commonly believed. This finding has implications for marketing theory and practice and trademark law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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