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

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This paper employs cultural branding theory, brand psychoanalysis, and literary genealogy in a post-disciplinary manner to investigate the creation of an anthropomorphic, monstrous doppelgänger brand image by critics of Goldman Sachs. The case study explores how critics have succeeded in morphing the image of the bank into a ‘brand monster’ for a section of the general public. Brand monsters focus negative emotions against organisations by exposing, anthropomorphising, and dramatising their alleged, monstrous, hidden motives, methods, and effects. The theoretical and managerial implications of contested corporate and critical image management strategies are discussed. The paper contributes to the literature on doppelgänger brand images by showing the importance of anthropomorphism when attacking a brand that does not employ emotional or cultural brand strategies.

Keywords: anthropomorphism; brand monster; brand psychoanalysis; doppelgänger brand image; global financial crisis; vampire squid

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Lancaster University, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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