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This paper builds on consumer storytelling theory and childhood memory research by proposing that earliest childhood memory stories are useful for developing brand myths and providing relevance to iconic brands. This article investigates consumers' childhood memories with Coca-Cola and finds that memories from early childhood are more predictive and insightful for understanding current brand attitudes than memories coming from adolescence. A focus group is unable to elicit memories from as early in life as the childhood memory session. In addition, the memories elicited by the group interviewer are not as relevant and meaningful to participants. When participants read experiences coming from the childhood memory session, those who connect with the earliest childhood memory stories have the strongest attitudes toward Coca-Cola. A discussion describes how this research method aids in generating insights about iconic brands and brands aspiring to become iconic.


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© Elsevier. Final version published as: LaTour, K., LaTour, M. S., & Zinkhan, G. M. (2010). Coke is it: How stories in childhood memories illuminate an icon. Journal of Business Research, 63(3), 328-336. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.