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Made with real crocodiles: The use of anthropomorphism to promote product kinship in our youngest consumers

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This research looks to understand why anthropomorphic images are so overused by marketers to attract very young consumers. By drawing on theories from evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, and social psychology, it is argued that anthropomorphism acts as a catalyst for kin recognition and encourages attachment and liking. A number of bonding concepts are discussed, such as association and phenotype matching, to show how anthropomorphic images encourage a young consumer to draw closer to the product and avoid destruction of the product. The manuscript concludes by calling for further research on understanding very young consumers’ relationships with brands and brand images.

Keywords: anthropomorphism; kin recognition; young consumers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Canterbury, New Zealand,

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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