When Hostile Consumers Wreak Havoc on Your Brand: The Phenomenon of Consumer Brand Sabotage

Kähr, Andrea; Nyffenegger, Bettina; Krohmer, Harley; Hoyer, Wayne David (2016). When Hostile Consumers Wreak Havoc on Your Brand: The Phenomenon of Consumer Brand Sabotage. Journal of marketing, 80(3), pp. 25-41. American Marketing Association. 10.1509/jm.15.0006

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In recent years, companies have been confronted with a new type of negative consumer behavior: consumers who have turned hostile and who are strongly determined to cause damage to the brand. Empowered by new technological possibilities, an individual consumer can now wreak havoc on a brand with relatively little effort. In reflection of this new phenomenon, the authors introduce the concept of consumer brand sabotage (CBS). On the basis of different underlying motives, a conceptual framework distinguishes CBS (a form of hostile aggression: harming the brand as dominant motive) from other forms of negative consumer behavior, such as customer retaliation and negative word of mouth (instrumental aggression: harming a brand is only a means to achieve other objectives, e.g., restoring equity). This framework adapts insights from aggression and appraisal theories as well as qualitative interviews with actual saboteurs to a consumer-brand relationship context in order to develop an improved theoretical understanding of the under-researched phenomenon of CBS. The authors analyze the mental escalation processes of individual consumers toward CBS and develop a road map for future research.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Innovation Management > Marketing

UniBE Contributor:

Kähr, Andrea; Nyffenegger, Bettina; Krohmer, Harley and Hoyer, Wayne David


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




American Marketing Association.




Andrea Kähr

Date Deposited:

29 Aug 2016 09:42

Last Modified:

29 Aug 2016 09:42

Publisher DOI:






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