Abstract: Although cross-border brand acquisitions are increasingly common in the global marketplace, research on how consumers respond to them is limited. Building on social identity and psychological ownership theories, we introduce the concept of brand ownership to the advertising literature, and show its negative effects on consumer reactions to a brand acquisition. Furthermore, we demonstrate that consumers’ disidentification (i.e., an oppositional motivation) with an acquiring country moderates the negative effect of consumers’ brand ownership on consumer attitudes after a brand acquisition. The results reveal that consumers with high levels of brand ownership develop more negative post-acquisition brand attitudes when a brand is acquired by a country with which consumers strongly disidentify (i.e. dissociative vs. out-group). Furthermore, our research introduces the concept of a brand ownership appeal in advertising, and demonstrates that it is an effective advertising strategy in enhancing post-acquisition brand attitudes for consumers with high levels of brand ownership. Important theoretical and managerial advertising implications conclude this research.
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