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Negative publicity is increasing in frequency to become part of the everyday lives of consumers and everyday business of brands. Previous research reports several negative effects on the focal brand and tests strategies to cope with one's own brand crisis. But one question needs examining: how does a brand crisis affect the product category and competing brands? This article reports two studies showing that a brand crisis changes consumer perceptions and the game rules of the entire product category. The effects on competing brands differ depending on similarity to the brand in crisis. Implications for advertising, positioning, and tracking are reported in the study's findings.
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