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How cyber political brands emerge: a socio-material analysis of the Italian Five Star movement and the Czech pirate party

Andrea Lucarelli (Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden)
Gregorio Fuschillo (Kedge Business School, Marseille, France)
Zuzana Chytkova (Department of Marketing, University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 13 November 2020

Issue publication date: 7 April 2021




Although information technology has been at the centre of attention of political branding for some time, research has traditionally focused mainly on its role in the facilitation of communication. This paper aims to unpack the role of information technology in the emergence of new cyber political brands.


This research uses a dual case study approach that focuses on the relationship between branding, politics and information technology. The analysis focuses on two successful political cyber brands: the Italian Five Star Movement and the Czech Pirate Party. Data collection covering the time frame between their emergence and their political success occurs through netnographic methods.


Cyber political brands emerge and materialize in different forms. The present analysis allows for a delineation of three conceptual elements that characterize the constitutive interrelationship of information technology in the emergence of cyber political brands. The first conceptual element, organization, refers to how political brands become structured around linked activities. The second conceptual element, orientation, describes how the activities of a political brand are directed to build a specific path and legitimize courses of action. The third conceptual element, operation, delineates the processes that anchor and stabilize the political brands in its “own” culture, establishing specific base activities.

Research limitations/implications

Information technology and the techno-culture emerging around the two cyber party brands can be seen as the possible delineations of new “cleavages” in the form of “information technology-culture” which enables potential electoral success.


The present study by offering the conceptualization of the cyber political brand shows how political brands can reflect a type of performative cultural branding where they become able, as a networked-medium, to assemble a specific techno-culture. In terms of political brand development, the current analysis offers a framework that allows us to consider the process of political party development in a new fashion.



Andrea Lucarelli wants to thank the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius foundation.


Lucarelli, A., Fuschillo, G. and Chytkova, Z. (2021), "How cyber political brands emerge: a socio-material analysis of the Italian Five Star movement and the Czech pirate party", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 55 No. 4, pp. 1130-1154.



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