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Broadening the brandfest: play and ludic agency

Dannie Kjeldgaard (Department of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)
Matthias Bode (Department of Marketing and Management, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 13 February 2017




Brandfests are conceptualized as marketer-initiated events that facilitate consumers’ individual and social engagements with brands. After its inception in the late 1990s, the concept of brandfests was quickly folded into the concept of brand community, leaving conceptual and strategic opportunities untapped. The purpose of the paper is to suggest a broadened conceptualization of brandfests based on the play theory and the notion of ludic interagency.


This paper includes a longitudinal study and ethnographic method.


Unlike previously studied brandfests, this context entails a low-involvement product, a brand that is not the focal point for participants, a broad range of market-facing enactors, shifting roles and the realization of multiple meanings and values for multiple enactors. The findings demonstrate that brand meaning and value can be constituted through ludic engagement of a broad range of market-facing enactors through a ludic spectacle such as a brandfest. Moreover, the authors find that this can go on outside the established spatial and temporal frames normally considered by the marketing literature.

Research limitations/implications

This has implications for theories of emplacement (servicescape) and brand meaning actualization in terms of where, when and whom is involved in brand meaning actualization.

Practical implications

The paper develops four strategic propositions which broaden the type of brandfests that allow managers to define a range of potential strategies for engaging consumers and other enactors in a broader range of brandfests.


The paper reconceptualizes a dormant concept in the marketing literature to develop strategic implications based on the play theory. It challenges the prevalent centrality of the brand and consumer brand involvement.



Kjeldgaard, D. and Bode, M. (2017), "Broadening the brandfest: play and ludic agency", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 51 No. 1, pp. 23-43.



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