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Underdog consumption: An exploration into meanings and motives

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  • McGinnis, Lee Phillip
  • Gentry, James W.

Abstract

Marketers frequently position business concerns - whether brands, teams, or stores - as the non market-dominant entity (or the "underdog"). This article examines the motives for underdog support through in-depth interviews and a focus group. Findings suggest that underdog consumers support underdogs out of empathy, as a way to ensure the maintenance of equal opportunity in competition, and as a way to provide personal inspiration. Some motives for underdog support can be interpreted to be anti-consumption (or, at least, anti-corporate) in nature. On the other hand, many underdog consumers support and identify with underdogs not necessarily as a way to keep the top dog down, but as a means to keep the little guy competing. Rather than solely "vote-against" behavior, "vote-for" behavior is very evident as well.

Suggested Citation

  • McGinnis, Lee Phillip & Gentry, James W., 2009. "Underdog consumption: An exploration into meanings and motives," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 191-199, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:62:y:2009:i:2:p:191-199
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. de Kervenoael, Ronan & Palmer, Mark & Hallsworth, Alan, 2013. "From the outside in: Consumer anti-choice and policy implications in the mobile gaming market," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 439-449.
    2. Ekinci, Yuksel & Sirakaya-Turk, Ercan & Preciado, Sandra, 2013. "Symbolic consumption of tourism destination brands," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(6), pages 711-718.
    3. Sung, Hojun & Mills, Brian M. & Tainsky, Scott, 2017. "From schadenfreude to mitfreude? Estimating viewership loss and rivalrous relationships in otherwise neutral markets," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 159-169.
    4. repec:eee:joreco:v:28:y:2016:i:c:p:252-262 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Karanfil, Fatih, 2017. "An empirical analysis of European football rivalries based on on-field performances," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 468-482.
    6. Wiedmann, Klaus-Peter & Hennigs, Nadine & Pankalla, Lars & Kassubek, Martin & Seegebarth, Barbara, 2011. "Adoption barriers and resistance to sustainable solutions in the automotive sector," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 64(11), pages 1201-1206.
    7. Yoo, Boonghee & Lee, Seung-Hee, 2012. "Asymmetrical effects of past experiences with genuine fashion luxury brands and their counterfeits on purchase intention of each," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(10), pages 1507-1515.
    8. Havard, Cody T., 2014. "Glory Out of Reflected Failure: The examination of how rivalry affects sport fans," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 243-253.

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