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Underdog consumption: An exploration into meanings and motives

  • McGinnis, Lee Phillip
  • Gentry, James W.
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V7S-4S02D8S-4/2/d68aa2278ab61e1c6e6f3e05e73cbd3f
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Business Research.

    Volume (Year): 62 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 191-199

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbrese:v:62:y:2009:i:2:p:191-199
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbusres

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    1. Ariely, Dan & Levav, Jonathan, 2000. " Sequential Choice in Group Settings: Taking the Road Less Traveled and Less Enjoyed," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 279-90, December.
    2. Holt, Douglas B, 2002. " Why Do Brands Cause Trouble? A Dialectical Theory of Consumer Culture and Branding," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 70-90, June.
    3. Andrea C. Morales, 2005. "Giving Firms an "E" for Effort: Consumer Responses to High-Effort Firms," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 806-812, 03.
    4. Holbrook, Morris B, 1993. " Nostalgia and Consumption Preferences: Some Emerging Patterns of Consumer Tastes," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 245-56, September.
    5. Tian, Kelly Tepper & Bearden, William O & Hunter, Gary L, 2001. " Consumer's Need for Uniqueness: Scale Development and Validation," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 50-66, June.
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