Brand relationships: Strengthened by emotion, weakened by attention

Robert Heath*, David Brandt, Agnes Nairn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the way in which advertising builds brand relationships. Behavioral research by Watzlawlck, Bavelas, and Jackson (1967) suggests it is the emotional not the rational content in communication that drives relationships. This assertion is tested using a new research copy-testing system-the CEP™Test-and the results confirm that favorabllity toward brands is strongly correlated with emotional content in advertising, but not with factual content. However, learning from psychology indicates that high attention weakens the effect of emotional content, so the implications are that advertising aimed at building strong brand relationships might be more effective if processed at lower levels of attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-419
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advertising Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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