Award for Marketing Research

February 11, 2008
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,

Ron Pimentel, California State University, Bakersfield marketing professor, has won the 2004-2006 Academy of Marketing Science Review's best paper award for his work on studying the behavior of college football fanatics.

Pimentel's research on the award-winning paper, "A Model for Consumer Devotion: Affective Commitment with Proactive Sustaining Behaviors," started off as a study about brands people are loyal to but "we found those dynamics similar to college football teams that people were devoted to," he said.

"In some cases, consumer connections with brands reach a level of loyalty so intense that it survives poor product performance, scandal, bad publicity, high prices, and absence of promotional efforts," the study said. "It is loyalty that motivates consumers to buy T-shirts, baseball caps, and bumper stickers in order to display the brand name and trademark…Fans of college football teams provide a convenient context for discussion of this fervor."

The professor reported "football becomes almost sacred to people." He explained, "People make pilgrimages out of attending games…so we looked at that perspective of individuals who have this ongoing proactive, sustaining behavior. This type of behavior is initiated by the individuals themselves and keeps them committed."

Pimentel, along with co-author Kristy Reynolds from University of Alabama, attended Alabama and Florida State University games to conduct their research and talked with tailgaters. "We visited one home and they had a room with a shrine to the Florida Gators," he said. This would be an example of an individual demonstrating this type of behavior. "No one made them do it…Once you've invested that much time it overtakes your life during football season."

Pimentel's award will be presented at the upcoming Academic of Marketing Science conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in May.

For more information, contact Pimentel at (661) 654-6816.