A study in the Journal of Consumer Research about the metaphor of love.
People really can love their possessions. The researchers found that people with an especially strong attachment to their cars used pet names for their vehicles rather than brand names.
And the authors contend that many of these “lovers” are dishing out this affection to compensate for social isolation or loneliness. I suppose this is a good thing – calling your car “Bob” and waxing it every weekend is a relatively harmless way of filling an emotional void.
The fine line for marketers is how to appeal to the deep needs of these consumers without being patronizing or condescending.
The link above is a quick, easy read and presents several different perspectives and implications.