Irony is the New Black
Aug. 27, 2018
A giddy tween wearing a Justin Bieber t-shirt at a Justin Bieber concert -- not too surprising. But what about your hard rock friend showing up to a death metal party wearing a Justin Bieber t-shirt?
New research by Caleb Warren, assistant professor of marketing in the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, indicates that consuming brands ironically is a way to secretly signal our identity or beliefs to people who know us. Warren and his co-author, Gina Mohr, associate professor of marketing at Colorado State University, define ironic consumption as using a brand or adopting a behavior in an attempt to signal an identity, trait or belief that is the opposite from the perceived conventional meaning of the product. Through four experiments and an exploratory survey, Warren and Mohr found that consumers sometimes use products ironically to signal one thing to an "in-group" while signaling something different to an "out group."
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