Underdog Consumption: An Exploration into Meanings and Motives

Marketers frequently position business concerns – whether brands, teams, or stores – as the non market-dominant entity (or the “underdog”). This article examines the motives for underdog support through in-depth interviews and a focus group. Findings suggest that underdog consumers support underdogs out of empathy, as a way to ensure the maintenance of equal opportunity in competition, and as a way to provide personal inspiration. Some motives for underdog support can be interpreted to be anti-consumption (or, at least, anti-corporate) in nature. On the other hand, many underdog consumers support and identify with underdogs not necessarily as a way to keep the top dog down, but as a means to keep the little guy competing. Rather than solely “vote-against” behavior, “vote-for” behavior is very evident as well.

Publication Information
Article Title: Underdog Consumption: An Exploration into Meanings and Motives
Journal: Journal of Business Research (Feb, 2009)
Vol. 62 Issue 2, p191-199, ISSN 0148-2963
Author(s): McGinnis, L. P;  Gentry, James W
Researcher Information
Gentry, James W
Gentry, James W
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Cross-Cultural Issues
  • Family Decision Making
  • International Consumerism
  • International - Asia
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