Sneaking Around With a Brand Makes You Love It More

We've all got those things we can't admit to loving. If there's a battle in your heart between Goldfish and Cheez-Its, you may already know what new research has just shown — that the more secretive we are about brands, the more we come to bond with them.

Marketing experts at Towson University wanted to know whether there was any connection to how we feel about brands and how we feel about having a secret love affair. It's not actually an absurd supposition: When we try to suppress thoughts about a forbidden relationship, we create the conditions for obsessive preoccupation, a cyclical pattern of behavior anyone who's ever been obsessed with someone (or something) can relate to.

As it turns out, nearly two-thirds of participants in a Towson survey keep their love of at least one brand a secret. Some examples include a health nut who splurges on McDonald's and a woman who shops at a plus-size clothing store. Ultimately, the study came to find that "lying increased thought intrusion and suppression, which led to stronger connections" to the brand, according to a press release.

Of course, as with any spending habit, it's possible to lose track of why you're shopping the way you are. If you're going to splurge, even in secret, try to do so mindfully (even if that defeats the purpose of splurging!). We consumers are pretty attached to irrational decisions, but the more we can integrate gratitude into our budgets, the happier we and our wallets are likely to be.