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Critical brand poetics: "from The M at the End of the Earth"

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Abstract:

This paper proposes to procure a delinquent view on the dominance of narrative in the sourcing and representation of consumer insights, in theorised storylines and in marketing management. It aims to provide a form of consumer intelligence that captures the flow of discontinuities in the fragmented expressions of marketing, by proposing a critical poetics as an aesthetic form of sceptical reflexivity on brands. Traditionally narrative perspectives of theory and method have prevailed in the storied understanding of brands and consumption. This paper proposes that the inherent openness of poetics in method and representation provides an academic and managerial alternative that combines the big mythical stories and the small real-time experiences of the everyday materiality of brands. The exploration of a critical poetics as a formal 'mattering' of the cultural complexity of marketing artefacts is advanced in two ways: firstly as a complementary mediation of the singularities of marketable meanings in a wider cultural setting and secondly as a critical alternative for a re-textualisation of the brand concept itself. As a critique of existing critical narrative itself, and especially as an alternative for the predictable countercultural mythology against the McDonald's brandscape, new poetry has been purposively written. This is an evocation of the messy multiplicity and ambiguity of consumers and outsiders, in the warm chaosmos and on the far fringes of Birdland.

Keywords: AESTHETICS; BRANDING; CRITICALITY; DISCONTINUITY; ETHNOGRAPHY; POETICS; POETRY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1362/026725709X471604

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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