Spokes-characters have traditionally been presented in the literature as static entities, often likened to a trademark or logo, and discussed as a failsafe branding constituent. Meanwhile, celebrity spokespersons are presented as risk-bearing endorsers, due to the limited control brand managers have over their actions. However, with the rise of web 2.0 technologies, the new-fangled consumer-producer has the potential to rewrite the traditional handbook of spokes-character guidelines, presenting spokes-characters to be equally as erratic as their human counterparts. Studying an extension of consumer generated media, namely YouTube spoofs and parodies. This chapter aims to determine the impact of the controversial acts of spokes-character Peppa Pig on the brand’s reputation. To this end, this thesis is concerned with mapping consumer responses to parodies/spoofs, thereby exposing the potentially detrimental effects of unregulated consumer generated media. Using the single case study of Peppa Pig, a multimodal autonetnographic approach has been adopted whereby the researcher became a member of the YouTube community. The data were collected from auto-netnographic fieldnotes; comment threads; online in-depth interviews with creators of the controversial YouTube videos; online video elicitation interviews with consumers; and semi-structured face-to-face interviews with Peppa Pig licensing officials. The main conclusions drawn from this research were that the controversial acts of the spokes-character, via the YouTube spoofs/parodies, foster negative evaluations of the character. Yet, on the whole, this did not impact on consumers’ perception of the brand. Interestingly, threat to the brand’s reputation ensued from the company’s lack of regulation over the controversial content. As such, this research recommends that, in order to regain their brand management rights, and to safeguard against reputational damage, marketers must implement remedial measures, for instance the monitoring and filtering of consumer generated media.
|Title of host publication||Meaning and λόγος Proceedings from the Early Professional Interdisciplinary Conference|
|Publisher||Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle Upon Tyne|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2015|