My son recently got his compulsory Buzzy Bee. I can't tell if he is excited about it. He is 6 months old so his emotional range is limited but, if he makes it as far as becoming a father, his children will likely get Buzzy Bees, too.
We inherit more from our parents than language, appearance and religion; we also pick up our parents' brand preferences. However, it is hard to know if this preference is hard-wired or learned behaviour; so some American economists tried to find out.
The National Bureau of Economic Research used an intergenerational study of 18,000 people that began in 1968 and tracked lifestyle and consumer decisions for more than 30 years. The researchers looked at vehicle-buying patterns of parents and their children as the least likely to reflect non-genetic influences.
GM versus Ford was used as a proxy. Both make vehicles that compete at similar prices.
The results were clear; you are 67 per cent more likely to buy a brand your parents drove than one they didn't. It could be that knowing the car worked for your parents reduces the risk of a bad purchase or it could be nostalgia.
This helps explain the endurance of brands such as Telecom and Coca-Cola and reinforces the challenge for those who manage to establish their own brands in a competitive market.
When new markets emerge, such as the battle over search engines, there is no inbuilt brand loyalty. However, once a brand cements itself in the mind of one generation it has the opportunity to be passed on.