Neural Substrates of Brand Love: An Activation Likelihood Estimation Meta-Analysis of Functional Neuroimaging Studies

Front Neurosci. 2020 Sep 25;14:534671. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.534671. eCollection 2020.


Brand love is a critical concept for building a relationship between brands and consumers because falling in love with a brand can lead to strong brand loyalty. Despite the importance of marketing strategies, however, the underlying neural mechanisms of brand love remain unclear. The present study used an activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis method to investigate the neural correlates of brand love and compared it with those of maternal and romantic love. In total, 47 experiments investigating brand, maternal, and romantic love were examined, and the neural systems involved for the three loves were compared and contrasted. Results revealed that the putamen and insula were commonly activated in the three loves. Moreover, activated brain regions in brand love were detected in the dorsal striatum. Activated regions for maternal love were detected in the cortical area and globus pallidus and were associated with pair bonds, empathy, and altruism. Finally, those for romantic love were detected in the hedonic, strong passionate, and intimate-related regions, such as the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area. Thus, the common regions of brain activation between brand and romantic love were in the dorsal striatum. Meanwhile, no common activated regions were observed between brand and maternal love except for the regions shared among the three love types. Although brand love shared little with the two interpersonal (maternal and romantic) loves and relatively resembled aspects of romantic rather than maternal love, our results demonstrated that brand love may have intrinsically different dispositions from the two interpersonal loves.

Keywords: brand love; brand loyalty; brand relationship; meta-analysis; neuroimaging.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review