Brand anthropomorphism : the literary lives of marketing mascots

Khogeer, Yusra
Brand anthropomorphism : the literary lives of marketing mascots. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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There is no end to the brands that lend themselves to anthropomorphic comparison. As an area under researched, the ultimate aim of this thesis is to improve our understanding of the phenomenon of brand anthropomorphism via focusing on one of the most prominent tactics currently being used by industry – the use of marketing mascots. This research begins by theoretically positioning the topic in a rich body of literature. Drawing on branding literature, the multidimensional nature of brands is explored as a starting point for understanding brand mascots. The fundamental theories referred to are integrated to form the Brand Puzzle. Next, the phenomenon of anthropomorphism is examined by referring to literatures from the disciplines of anthropology, animal behaviour, English literature and religion. To complete the extensive literature review, this thesis draws on marketing, advertising, psychology and consumer behaviour literature to reveal any existing classifications for brand anthropomorphism prior to introducing a new typology. Additionally, an investigation into the use of mascots is carried out paying particular attention to their conceptual development and their ‘humanity’. By designing an interpretive case study methodology that relies on a variety of research techniques, including netnography, interviews and photo-essays, as well as a provocative style of presentation, this thesis sets out firstly to explore the development of three marketing mascots on the social media site of Facebook: Aleksandr Orlov mascot for price comparison website; The M&M’s Spokescandies mascots for Mars’ M&M’s chocolate; and Mr Peanut mascot for Planters peanuts. A literary approach was adopted when tackling this mysterious process of creating marketing mascots. Secondly, this thesis sets out to analyse consumer engagement with the brands via their engagement with the selected marketing mascots. Six forms of consumer engagement were identified which were perceived to have an effect on the narrative of marketing mascots. The discussion section of this thesis creatively links the empirical evidence presented in the findings chapters and the insights from the literature with novels, storytelling and genre reading. The prominence of these have led to the development of a Literary Wheel model that has scope for use by industry and offers a direction for future research. In conclusion, this research contributes to knowledge in the field of brand anthropomorphism. It provides a formula for the creation of captivating marketing mascots that fulfil the needs of our increasingly communication hungry culture, encouraging elevated consumer engagement and the development of stronger consumer-brand relationships.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2013-11 (completed)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Marketing, Branding, Brand Anthropomorphism, Consumer Behaviour, Mascot, Spokes-characters, Netnography, Literary approach, interpretive, case study, social media, consumer engagement
Subjects: ?? HD28 ??
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Management
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2015 14:41
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2022 04:41
DOI: 10.17638/00016193