Printer friendly version Share

News Release

Scholarly articles on anthropomorphism in marketing – they’re gr-r-eat!

25 March 2013 Taylor & Francis

From meerkats to Buzz Lightyear, humans love an anthropomorphic brand mascot, but why? And how can marketing and consumer researchers and professionals understand and tap into this subconscious predilection? A special double issue of the Journal of Marketing Management (JMM) –  free to download until 31 March 2013 – sheds light on this age-old phenomenon.

“Humankind is incorrigibly anthropomorphic,” write the guest editors of this special double issue of JMM, Stephen Brown, professor of marketing research, and Sharon Ponsonby-McCabe, lecturer in marketing communication (both of the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland). 

“From the cave paintings of Neolithic man, through the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece, via the beast fables of Aesop and Apuleius, to the cartoon capers of Mickey and Minnie, humanity has never been reluctant to anthropomorphise.” 

In order to better understand this cross-cultural phenomenon and draw valuable practical conclusions for the marketing and advertising industries, the editors have drawn together a diverse collection of scholarly articles that provide a thorough analysis of research into anthropomorphism in marketing and advertising.

The fourteen free-to-download papers draw upon literature in the fields of biology, zoology, sociology, anthropology, psychology, literary theory, art history and media studies. Taken together, the papers approach the topic from three angles:

·        Qualitative analyses of the practice and benefits of using animal symbols and characters in brand management;

·        Quantitative studies that evaluate the relationships between characters and personal values;

·        The wider impact of anthropomorphic marketing – from a feminist deconstruction of bovine motives in branding, to a neo-Freudian investigation into post-political zoomorphism impacts us all, as consumers.

JMM is aimed at a wide audience – from senior marketing executives, their advisors and senior line managers, to teachers and researchers in marketing, and undergraduate and postgraduate students of the subject. In particular, JMM aims to investigate how and why both corporate customers and individual consumers behave in the way they do. As the contents list, below, suggests, this double special issue more than fulfils this aim:

·        Animals, archetypes, and advertising (A3): The theory and the practice of customer brand symbolism

·        Anthropomorphism, marketing relationships, and consumption worth in the Toy Story trilogy1

·        Theory and strategies of anthropomorphic brand characters from Peter Rabbit, Mickey Mouse, and Ronald McDonald, to Hello Kitty

·        How to create an influential anthropomorphic mascot: Literary musings on marketing, make-believe, and meerkats

·        Brand mascots as organisational totems

·        The human lens: How anthropomorphic reasoning varies by product complexity and enhances personal value

·        Anthropomorphic responses to new-to-market logos

·        Development of a scale measuring childlike anthropomorphism in products

·        Uddering the other: Androcentrism, ecofeminism, and the dark side of anthropomorphic marketing

·        Revenge of the brand monsters: How Goldman Sachs’ doppelgänger turned monstrous

·        Made with real crocodiles: The use of anthropomorphism to promote product kinship in our youngest consumers

·        Leveraging the human side of the brand using a sense of place: Case studies of craft breweries

·        Unleashing the animal within: Exploring consumers’ zoomorphic identity motives

·        ‘Bringing with us the plague’: Consumer Research as Machinery of Zoomorphism.


* Read the full issue online:

Attached files

  • RJMM

Animated gif Millet expertsvar 2015 FNSF ad New Norwegian logo twitter ad eNEWS6 Facebook 2015