Sexual Fidelity = Brand Loyalty?

(Digital Vision)

Here’s an interesting piece from Yale Fox over at on how the fidelity (or lack thereof) we demonstrate in sexual relationships mimics the loyalty we have to brands:

Much research shows that if there are no consequences to cheating, or if we can get away with it, we are very likely to do so. However, brand conversion is more than having the user cheat on their product once. We want them to understand that they are trading up to the new brand. It’s always possible to convert someone to your brand permanently. This can be achieved if the right environmental pressures are in place to do so.



Eric M. Jones

I think the correct term for this is sociopathy.

Joseph Ryan

"Trading up to the new brand" - Hard to grok how this is appropriate in the sexual sense. Not sure my spouse would see this quite the same way. At any rate, I suggest the analogy is an EPIC FAIL.


So - I'm a sociology student writing about participants in commercial sex and border-line commercial I sort of get motivations for cheating and the way different genders under different circumstances think about infidelity and casual sex.

I'm also probably going to go into a career in Marketing.

Anyways, found the biologically-determinist analysis of relational cheating, the authors understanding of branding and cultivating consumer loyalty, and the way the two were linked underdeveloped, demonstrated a lack of knowledge on romantic relationships and brand loyalty, and were generally...problematic?

(Hell, if you're swinging the nature-n0t-nurture-sex-analysis, don't leave out a crucial part:

Interesting concept, not sure if worth posting.


Yeah, the main problematic thing:

If you spend 3/4 of an article talking about gender differences and types in each category, actually follow through and talk about how these influence cheating.

The groups are women, alpha males, weak males.

"Much research shows that if there are no consequences to cheating, or if we can get away with it, we are very likely to do so. However, brand conversion is more than having the user cheat on their product once."

Which group are we talking about?

My guess would be:

Women - represent consumers that carefully research products and brands and then commit to and are quite loyal to brands. The "Woman" buyer will not leave a brand until she has found a new brand that she is certain is much better.

Weaker Males - represent the poor - get stuck with inferior brands because, hey, you need stuff. They are stuck with inferior brands for forever.

Alpha Males - represent the consumer who...I'm a bit confused. Does the Alpha male ever become loyal to a brand at all? (There's discussion of cheating, but there's also the assumption that alpha males just want to spread as much seed as possible.) Anyways, if the "alpha male" consumer type ever becomes loyal to a brand at all, he will indiscriminately cheat on that brand with other brands that offer better deals/are appealing (but the question is...does he ever actually leave brand A? And why?)


Tyson F

...and I think the race to the bottom is just about accomplished. If we have evolved into a society of constantly 'trading up' for thinner and thinner value items (or morals) we've just about hit bedrock.

When I switched from a PC to a Mac I didn't have to worry about my 12 year old and family being devastated by the news or creating a lifetime of unneeded hatred or pain because of a slightly better deal

Yale Fox

You're missing the context of the article - this is about nightlife society. Not everyday life although there are close parallels. Society is incredibly materialistic although people don't like to admit it. We don't like to think that women love us for our money and women don't like to think men love them for their looks. At the depths of the lizard brain this is how it works. Society and Biology constantly battle each other. Sociology also evolved from our Biology through developing social norms as a means of survival.

The product your selling in a nightclub is not Alcohol - it's sex & social status.


" Society is incredibly materialistic although people don’t like to admit it...."

Oh, I don't contest this at all.

But if all women want is money and all men want is looks, I do wonder whether women aren't more relationally oriented simply because...well, obtaining money for sex outside of a relational context is stigmatized and illegal. And...women get stretch marks, fat and ugly and are pretty much off the sexual market during pregnancy and after a certain age, so a life-long contract is pretty optimal.

That's not the point. Mainly, I'm curious as to what the thesis of this article is. Are women, ugly and hot guys literal or type-category consumption groups for nightlife? (IE, are you saying that women, ugly and hot guys shop the nightlife market-place like they shop the relational one? Or are these just orientations towards nightlife?) And then, based on a knowledge of how to get women, ugly and hot guys to upgrade, how do you get each category to come to your nightlife venue?

Or is the main point:

Club owner: Think of patrons like married alpha males. They might cheat on their main club with you, but that in no way means they're leaving it.

Maybe a good next post might be: that being said, what can we learn about successful husband snatchers to attract alpha males to your club.

Interesting - but I think the pepsi-coke study worked better.


Yale Fox

The thesis at the article is to understand the emotional attachment people have to a brand. Any marketing textbook will demonstrate that it's not really the product your purchasing but the emotional/societal associations, brand & perception outweighs.

Mates want to be with the best possible partner. There's lots of studies I can post about this if you'd like to see them. Pepsi and Coke are great because they're pretty similar but most people prefer one over the other - thanks to all the money they spend marketing it.

When you go to a nightclub and buy a bottle of Methuselah Cristal champagne for $20 000 USD you're purchasing a prop that shows fitness, think of the peacock's feather as an analogy.

To clarify this is accurate in nightclubs, not bars or dance-clubs. A nightclub with the doorman that can decide who comes in based on how much money they are going to spend (negotiating a minimum on their credit card to get in the door), that will not let you in because of the color of your skin, that will not let in anything other than tall, skinny girls. It's probably one of the only businesses in the world that gets away with it. Have you ever heard of a minority not being allowed in to a grocery store because of what they look like? For some reason, nobody talks about it as much with night clubs its just accepted that this is an elite-ist part of society and that's the way it works.

We have been evolving as a species for millions of years, a nightclub has been around for roughly 40. This is such a small sliver in time. People in nightclubs are under sensory influence from music and lighting, perception is altered through drugs and alcohol and the commodity at hand is sex and social status. Alcohol disables top-level cognitive processes exposing more or less our primal urges.

There's also different laws inside a nightclub, both in terms of social norms and legalities.

Everything is different once you are inside those walls.

If your husband is going to nightclubs I would definitely be worried about cheating. If 3 guys walk in to a club with a $5K table minimum - there are promoters whos jobs are to put beautiful women at their table. The girls WILL go and sit there, because if they don't they'll probably never get back in to that club again.

It's exactly as piggish and whorish as it sounds - part of the reason I started researching this field is my absolute awe and fascination with the whole culture.

Hit me up via the contact form on my website - would love to discuss this further with you and I'm always looking to connect with marketing/sociology heads :)



"In evolutionary terms, the best case scenario for a male would be to impregnate a woman and have another male invest all the time child rearing."

Makes sense, absolutely. So is the best case scenario for a female to get a paternal, protective family man to look after her during pregnancy, and look after her children, and cheat on him with some macho domineering male?

Also I wonder what the evolutionary explanation is for people who whose adopt children?

Miley Cyrax

People are only as loyal as their options. You get tired of eating the same pizza everyday; diminishing returns sets in quite quickly after having sex with the same girl a few times. However, for most guys, leaving their particular girlfriend at the time will translate to a grinding dry spell. Or they subconsciously sense it would, and thus cling onto their girlfriend.

On the other side, for most girls, leaving their particular boyfriend at the time will result in a loss of attention and resources received, and validation felt. Or else you would see girls trying to "upgrade" even more often when any more desirable guy (more desirable than the boyfriend) that comes along. However, they fear the pump and dump and stick with the boyfriend. Of course, some girls have their cake and eat it too... hence, cuckolding.


It seems, at least from my admittedly limited observations, that a lot of "cheating" is in fact more about variety than about switching brands, and in fact wouldn't involve a "brand-switch" at all if the other partner didn't discover the casual fling and force the issue.

Indeed, isn't this the most common pattern we see? One spouse (usually but not always the male) has casual fling on the side with no intent of permanence (often it's even call girls etc), other spouse discovers it, makes big emotional scene, and the divorce lawyers get richer.

Yale Fox

shane > yes it is in evolutionary and biological terms, big time. you can see this in animal, primate and bird models all the time. adoption is a tough one to tackle there's a few of those big questions, another intersting one is altruism

dj münchen

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