The influence of rituals on luxury product consumption: Implications for brands

Kirsten Cowan, Nathalie Spielmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Luxury brands embed meaning in advertising and often encourage brand ritualistic behavior—opening the blue box is a ritualistic part of consuming Tiffany’s lore. However, marketers have little insight on how luxury consumers interpret product and brand rituals. We consider taste regimes and Collin’s Interaction Ritual Theory (IRT) to examine if and how product-related rituals transform consumption practices of luxury brands and the importance of the brand in such rituals. Via qualitative interviews and photograph elicitation that focused on champagne as a product category, we find that champagne consumption is practiced and ritualized according to two types of regimes. Open ritual regimes are brand-centric, transformative, and intimate. The product is the kernel of the experience, even when celebrations are not the consumption context. Alternatively, closed ritual regimes are situation dependent, banal, and rule governed. These represent a more public statement of social interaction, with the product emerging as an accessory. The resulting analysis offers suggestions for marketers of luxury brands who advertise ritualistic behavior, providing advice on how to properly segment markets in order to propagate or change existing product rituals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-404
JournalJournal of Brand Management
Issue number5
Early online date6 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2017


  • luxury brands
  • rituals
  • champagne
  • product marketing


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