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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a discussion, testing and comparing two different relationship theories and their underlying scales as applied to brand love. Current brand love studies neglect a detailed discussion and analysis of the appropriate relationship theory and underlying measurement scale to be used. Design/methodology/approach – We use a 2 × 2 experimental design where we compare two relationship theories (interpersonal versus parasocial) across two samples (USA and Japan). Model testing were conducted using exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and multi-group structural equation modeling techniques assessing the type of relationship consumers have with loved brands. Findings – Our results show conceptualizing and measuring “brand love” as a parasocial relationship, as compared to interpersonal relationship, leads overall to equal and, in some instances, better results. For both samples, we get stronger relationships between brand love and purchase intention, as well as for brand love and positive word of mouth (WOM). We also get higher explanation power for dependent variables purchase indentation and WOM. Originality/value – This paper compares different relationship theories and underlying measurement scales and proposes an alternative relationship theory to conceptualize and measure brand love relationships. With the parasocial interaction scale, we provide researchers and practitioners an alternative and very suitable instrument to measure brand love relationships.

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Journal of Consumer Marketing