Special Issue: Anthropomorphic Marketing
Journal of Marketing Management, Volume 29, 2013, Issue 1-2

They’re gr-r-reat! Introduction to the special issue
Stephen Brown & Sharon Ponsonby-McCabe

Animals, archetypes, and advertising (A3): The theory and the practice of customer brand symbolism
Stephen Lloyd & Arch G. Woodside
“This study provides a theoretical grounding from social anthropology and psychoanalysis into the use of animal symbolism in marketing communications. The study analyses the adoption of animal symbols in brand communications, and considers these as either implicitly anthropomorphic (totemic) or explicitly anthropomorphic (fetishist). …” Read more >

Anthropomorphism, marketing relationships, and consumption worth in the Toy Story trilogy
Clinton D. Lanier Jr, C. Scott Rader & Aubrey R. Fowler III
“Who doesn’t love a toy? Toys become our friends, our inspirations, and our creations. What is interesting about these significant relationships is that they are formed with rather ordinary commercial products. While this may seem natural enough, Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy provides us a glimpse into the other side of this relationship, that is, from the perspective of the toys …” Read more >

Theory and strategies of anthropomorphic brand characters from Peter Rabbit, Mickey Mouse, and Ronald McDonald, to Hello Kitty
Sameer Hosany, Girish Prayag, Drew Martin & Wai-Yee Lee
“Brand characters are ubiquitous in marketing. Previous studies establish their relevance in advertising. Surprisingly, little research exists on how to build and sustain brand characters. Adopting a case-study approach, this paper explores the brand management strategies of Sanrio’s iconic character Hello Kitty …” Read more >

How to create an influential anthropomorphic mascot: Literary musings on marketing, make-believe, and meerkats
Anthony Patterson, Yusra Khogeer & Julia Hodgson
“Not long ago, Compare the Market, a UK-based online aggregator of car insurance quotes, had little distinctive presence in the marketplace. Yet the company’s fortunes have been radically transformed since the launch in early 2009 of its award-winning marketing campaign, ‘Compare the Meerkat’, fronted by the much-loved anthropomorphic mascot, Aleksandr Orlov. This paper utilises literary insights to explain the peculiar piquancy of this popular anthropomorphic marketing campaign …” Read more >

Brand mascots as organisational totems
Julien Cayla
“Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork in an Indian advertising agency, this paper demonstrates that brand mascots are more than advertising glitter designed to cajole consumers. When they become the basis for the collective rallying of organisational members who converge around a tangible manifestation of their firm’s unique character, brand mascots operate as organisational totems, helping concretise and reproduce an organisation’s identity in a foreign context.” Read more >

The human lens: How anthropomorphic reasoning varies by product complexity and enhances personal value
Phillip M. Hart, Shawn R. Jones & Marla B. Royne
“This research examines the relationship between consumer anthropomorphism and personal value. A hierarchical linear regression analysis revealed that after marketplace variables (purchase price, frequency of use, and self-acquisition) were considered, the sole second-level factor, anthropomorphism, had a positive and significant influence on personal value for four products …” Read more >

Anthropomorphic responses to new-to-market logos
Collin R. Payne, Michael R. Hyman, Mihai Niculescu & Bruce A. Huhmann
“To examine design antecedents and consumer responses to ascriptions of anthropomorphic features for logos, we applied a best-practices conceptual framework to evaluate 120 US collegiate sports logos. Data collected from three logo experts and 119 consumers indicate that (1) processing fluency mediates the relationship between elaborateness and all logo personality dimensions, and (2) ascriptions of aggressiveness (negatively) and activeness (positively) influence consumer affect and purchase intentions …” Read more >

Development of a scale measuring childlike anthropomorphism in products
Katarina Hellén & Maria Sääksjärvi
“In this paper, the measurement of childlike anthropomorphism in products is investigated. A measurement scale to capture childlike anthropomorphism in products is introduced, and three studies are reported to support the validity of the scale …” Read more >

Uddering the other: Androcentrism, ecofeminism, and the dark side of anthropomorphic marketing
Lorna Stevens, Matthew Kearney & Pauline Maclaran
“This is a study of the dark side of anthropomorphism, which explores the depiction of cows in contemporary advertising. The study begins by tracing the cow’s representation in culture as an object that is simultaneously revered and profaned, tracing this to its long-standing association with nature and the feminine …” Read more >

Revenge of the brand monsters: How Goldman Sachs’ doppelgänger turned monstrous
James Freund & Erik S. Jacobi
“This paper employs cultural branding theory, brand psychoanalysis, and literary genealogy in a post-disciplinary manner to investigate the creation of an anthropomorphic, monstrous doppelgänger brand image by critics of Goldman Sachs. The case study explores how critics have succeeded in morphing the image of the bank into a ‘brand monster’ for a section of the general public …” Read the full abstract here

Made with real crocodiles: The use of anthropomorphism to promote product kinship in our youngest consumers
Ekant Veer
“This research looks to understand why anthropomorphic images are so overused by marketers to attract very young consumers. By drawing on theories from evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, and social psychology, it is argued that anthropomorphism acts as a catalyst for kin recognition and encourages attachment and liking. …” Read more >

Leveraging the human side of the brand using a sense of place: Case studies of craft breweries
Anne-Marie Hede & Torgeir Watne
“In order for consumers to connect emotionally with brands, brands must be transformed from inanimate entities into the realm of acquiring human characteristics. Following a review of more than 1000 breweries from online sources and beer companion books, we explore how a sense of place, derived from myths, folklores, and heroes, enables marketers and consumers to co-create narratives that humanise brands …” Read more >

Unleashing the animal within: Exploring consumers’ zoomorphic identity motives
Michael John Healy & Michael B. Beverland
“Through netnographic inquiry, we explore the practice of zoomorphism by one group of ‘anthromorphs’ – Furries. We identify three interconnected narratives (escape, healing, and power) that members of the Furry subculture deploy to make sense of the world. Exploring these narratives further, we identify why these consumers are drawn to zoomorphism as a means of self-authentication …” Read more >

‘Bringing with us the plague’: Consumer Research as Machinery of Zoomorphism
Alan Bradshaw
“This paper explores the hermeneutic argument that Freud’s theories created a theoretical blueprint that became determinative of liberal consumer culture, and does so by analysing texts by Ginzburg, Zaretsky, Gellner, and Curtis …” Read more >

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