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Young consumers’ brand communications literacy in a social networking site context

Young consumers’ brand communications literacy in a social networking site context PurposeWhile substantial scholarly attention has been given to children’s understanding of advertising in the context of traditional advertising channels, there is a gap in the literature with regard to children’s commercial awareness in the context of online social networking sites. This paper aims to seek to explore the nature and extent of advertising literacy among young consumers in the context of their use of social networking sites, namely, Facebook and Bebo.Design/methodology/approachA three-stage study was conducted with 12 to 14-year-old girls, using focus group discussions, participant observation and in-depth interviews.FindingsThe study illustrates that the increasingly blurred line between online advertising and other forms of online brand-related content is militating against the development of advertising and marketing literacy in young consumers. A key issue which is discussed is the extent to which the traditional conceptualisation of advertising literacy is “fit for purpose” in an online context.Originality/valueThe authors propose an alternative to the advertising literacy concept, namely, the Online Brand Communications literacy framework. This framework recognises the convergence of traditional online advertising and other forms of online brand content and also acknowledges that the messaging around a brand may originate from the brand owner in a variety of overt and covert forms. Equally, online consumers may also act as brand promoters when they engage in brand-related word-of-mouth. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Journal of Marketing Emerald Publishing

Young consumers’ brand communications literacy in a social networking site context

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0309-0566
DOI
10.1108/EJM-06-2015-0395
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeWhile substantial scholarly attention has been given to children’s understanding of advertising in the context of traditional advertising channels, there is a gap in the literature with regard to children’s commercial awareness in the context of online social networking sites. This paper aims to seek to explore the nature and extent of advertising literacy among young consumers in the context of their use of social networking sites, namely, Facebook and Bebo.Design/methodology/approachA three-stage study was conducted with 12 to 14-year-old girls, using focus group discussions, participant observation and in-depth interviews.FindingsThe study illustrates that the increasingly blurred line between online advertising and other forms of online brand-related content is militating against the development of advertising and marketing literacy in young consumers. A key issue which is discussed is the extent to which the traditional conceptualisation of advertising literacy is “fit for purpose” in an online context.Originality/valueThe authors propose an alternative to the advertising literacy concept, namely, the Online Brand Communications literacy framework. This framework recognises the convergence of traditional online advertising and other forms of online brand content and also acknowledges that the messaging around a brand may originate from the brand owner in a variety of overt and covert forms. Equally, online consumers may also act as brand promoters when they engage in brand-related word-of-mouth.

Journal

European Journal of MarketingEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 14, 2016

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