Consumers, acting independently of marketers and advertisers, have started creating and disseminating documents that strongly resemble, in form and intent, ads for the brands that they love. Employing a netnographic method, this paper investigates consumer-generated, commercially relevant artifacts by examining the brand community centered on the Apple Newton, a brand that was (along with its supporting advertising) discontinued in 1998. The members of the Newton community create commercially relevant content to fill the void created by the lack of advertising for the brand. These artifacts reflect tensions with the marketer, the market, and the community itself, and imbue the brand with powerful meaning. These data reveal that consumers can be quite skilled in the creation of brand-relevant communications, applying the styles, logics, and grammar of advertising. The ascendancy of consumer-generated content prefigures revolutionary changes in how advertising is defined and practiced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business and International Management