Self–object relationships in consumers’ spontaneous metaphors of anthropomorphism, zoomorphism, and dehumanization

Karanika, Katerina and Hogg, Margaret (2020) Self–object relationships in consumers’ spontaneous metaphors of anthropomorphism, zoomorphism, and dehumanization. Journal of Business Research, 109. pp. 15-25. ISSN 0148-2963

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How consumers relate to possessions and consumption goods, and pursue identity goals through spontaneous metaphors of anthropomorphism, zoomorphism, and dehumanization (AZD) in consumption, has not been explored. Whereas previous studies primed and prompted AZD by focusing on consumers’ reactions to marketers’ AZD, we examined AZD metaphors that emerged spontaneously from our conversations with Greek consumers in this phenomenological study. We identify four patterns that show how different attachment styles to consumer goods were combined with different types of AZD metaphors to provide different emotional benefits relating to identity goals. The study contributes to our understanding of how consumers employ AZD as self-therapeutic metaphors to cope with unwanted feelings such as guilt and ambivalence within identity conflicts, approach and feel closer to their desired selves, experience self-augmentation, and cope with their undesired selves and self-diminishment in consumption. We discuss how marketing campaigns linked to product design, branding, and advertising might facilitate consumers’ metaphoric coping by stimulating consumers’ AZD metaphors.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Business Research
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Business Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Business Research, 109, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.10.005
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Deposited On:
10 Oct 2019 12:55
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:41