Shape Matters: Package Shape Informs Brand Status Categorization and Brand Choice

Huan Chen, Jun Pang, Minkyung Koo, Vanessa M. Patrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ten studies examine package shape as a cue for brand status categorization. The authors show that products in tall, slender packages are more likely to be categorized as high-end products (high brand status) than those in short, wide packages (low brand status; studies 1a&b). This effect is driven by a Shape-SES lay theory (a person's body shape is associated with his or her socioeconomic status) that consumers apply to categorize products as high versus low in brand status (studies 2a–c), and this application process occurs spontaneously (studies 3a–b). The authors showcase the retailing implications of this work in two contexts—when consumers get free-sample products (study 4a) and when they engage in conspicuous consumption (study 4b). The theoretical contributions, retailing implications, and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-281
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Retailing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Brand categorization
  • Brand status
  • Lay theory
  • Package shape
  • Visual branding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Shape Matters: Package Shape Informs Brand Status Categorization and Brand Choice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this