True, fake and alternative: a topology of news and its implications for brands

Pierre Berthon (McCallum Graduate School, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA)
Ekin Pehlivan (Martin V. Smith School of Business and Economics, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, California, USA)
Taylan Yalcin (California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, California, USA)
Tamara Rabinovich (McCallum Graduate School, Bentley University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 19 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Berthon and Pitt (2018) recently highlighted the symbiotic relationship between fake news and brands. This paper aims to draw on semiotics to refine the fake/real news dichotomy to a fourfold typology.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the authors turn to semiotics and review Greimas’ (1966) semiotic square. Second, they use this framework to refine the fake/real news dichotomy into a four-fold typology. Third, they illustrate each type with a news report on the topic of climate change. Fourth, they apply this framework to reveal four types of brand: real, fake, empty and ironic.

Findings

Given that brand communications are heterogeneous, the authors suggest that the typology can be reconceptualized as dimensions and brands communications decoded accordingly. They conclude by exploring further opportunities offered by the semiotic square for interpretive investigation.

Originality/value

The value of the paper lies in the novel use of the semiotic square to shed light on both news and brand communications.

Keywords

Citation

Berthon, P., Pehlivan, E., Yalcin, T. and Rabinovich, T. (2019), "True, fake and alternative: a topology of news and its implications for brands", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-11-2018-2142

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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