Music in advertising and consumer identity: The search for Heideggerian authenticity

Abolhasani, Morteza; Oakes, Steve and Oakes, Helen (2017). Music in advertising and consumer identity: The search for Heideggerian authenticity. Marketing Theory, 17(4) pp. 473–490.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1470593117692021

Abstract

This study discusses netnographic findings involving 472 YouTube postings categorized to identify themes regarding consumers’ experience of music in advertisements. Key themes relate to musical taste, musical indexicality, musical repetition and musical authenticity. Postings reveal how music conveys individual taste and is linked to personal memories and Heidegger’s coincidental time where moments of authenticity may be triggered in a melee of emotions, memories and projections. Identity protection is enabled as consumers frequently resist advertisers’ attempts to use musical repetition to impose normative identity. Critiques of repetition in the music produce Heideggerian anxiety leading to critically reflective resistance. Similarly, where advertising devalues the authenticity of iconic pieces of music, consumers often resist such authenticity transgressions as a threat to their own identity. The Heideggerian search for meaning in life emphasizes the significance of philosophically driven ideological authenticity in consumers’ responses to music in advertisements.

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