Article | Harvard Business Review | November 2010

Capitalizing on the Underdog Effect

by Anat Keinan, Neeru Paharia and Jill Avery


This article presents the results of a study that investigated the use of the underdog effect in marketing. The idea of triumphing over disadvantages by impassioned determination is said to be a powerfully positive image, which can lead consumers to choose a brand over its larger rivals. The results of research on this effect are presented, and exceptions to the rule are noted.

Keywords: marketing; brand management; Brands; brands and branding; brand positioning; competitive positioning; Competition; Brands and Branding; Advertising Campaigns; Marketing Communications; Marketing Strategy; Advertising Industry; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Beauty and Cosmetics Industry; Consumer Products Industry; Fashion Industry; Food and Beverage Industry;


Keinan, Anat, Neeru Paharia, and Jill Avery. "Capitalizing on the Underdog Effect." Harvard Business Review 88, no. 11 (November 2010): 32.