Though I do not want to originate an endless debate on the conceptualization of brand love as an emotion versus a relationship (Junaid, Hussain, & Hou, 2019b; Moussa, 2019), I would like to respond to Junaid, Hussain, and Hou's (2019a) Letter to the Editor, "Addressing the dichotomy of brand love." In responding to Junaid et al. (2019a), I will cast light on five further flaws and fallacies surrounding the conceptualization of brand love as a relationship.
First, the concept of brand love has always been ambiguous. This ambiguousness stems from the fact that "love" itself is an ambiguous word. In a consumption context, people can use the word "love" when speaking about their favorite things. They can state that they "love popcorn," "love antiques," or "love Bugs Bunny cartoons" (see Ahuvia, 2005). But does this mean that they are in a love relationship with these objects? No. Consumers "tend to speak loosely when using the word love in reference to commercial products" (Carroll & Ahuvia, 2006, p. 81). This looseness is even evident in the early essays by Ahuvia (1993) and Fournier (1998). As Ahuvia (1993) openly admits, many of his 10 informants were "just using the word love loosely" (p. 3). Ahuvia (1993), in addition, affirms that two of his 10 informants "denied loving anything aside from people" (p. 8). Ahuvia (1993) narrates the case of Josh—a 31-year-old White male—who used the phrase "I love X," and "all he meant by it was that X was of the highest quality" (p. 8). The ambiguousness of the brand love concept is nowhere better evidenced than in Fournier's (1998) own empirical material. Vicki—one of Fournier's (1998) three adult female informants—mentions that "I don't want to bring the 'L' word into things but I guess I really do love a lot of the brands that I use" (p. 364). This statement shows that, while confused, Vicki is conscious that "the 'L' word" is something that set itself apart and that she does not "want to bring it into things." Albeit this apparent ambiguous-ness, brand love has, somehow, made its way into papers published in the most prestigious publication outlets of the discipline, the Journal of Marketing included (see, for example, Batra, Ahuvia, &Bagozzi, 2012).