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Why superstition-rich baseball playoff fans aren't loyal to a brand
Date:7/22/2013

usly associated with that outcome.

"It can be stressful when you want your team to win, but can't do anything about it," says Johar. "Superstition is one way that people can feel that they gain control over an uncertain situation."

A case in point is a recent Bud Light commercial that shows the odd ways in which NFL fans root for their teams, with the tag line: "It's only weird if it doesn't work."

With major league baseball having recently expanded the number of teams that make the playoffs, more fans have hope that their team will be playing in the postseason, and they are incredibly impressionable right now. Johar suggests this insight provides an opportunity for brand marketers to make sure they are associated with the team's success. For example, firms could sponsor specific actions (such as home runs and victories). Imagine a TV announcer telling viewers after each home run, "Some of our fans must have been drinking Budweiser!"

For fans, it's important to remember that there are other ways to control the stress of uncertainty besides superstition. One study demonstrated that superstition was less likely to occur after participants completed a self-affirmation exercise. "When you remind yourself of your own personal self-worth," said Johar, "you are able to directly confront the possibility that your team might lose without resorting to superstition."


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Contact: Evan Nowell
egn2109@columbia.edu
212-851-9147
Columbia Business School
Source:Eurekalert

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