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Brand avoidance among Generation Y consumers

Zana Knittel (Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden)
Karolin Beurer (Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University, Jönköping , Sweden)
Adele Berndt (Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 11 January 2016




The purpose of this research is to explore the reasons for brand avoidance among Generation Y consumers. Researchers have traditionally focused on the positive relationship between consumers and brands, but, increasingly, consumers are consciously avoiding brands.


A qualitative study consisting of both focus groups and interviews was conducted among Generation Y participants.


The findings support previous research that identifies four types of brand avoidance, namely, experiential, identity, moral and deficit-value avoidance. However, the study also suggests that an additional type of brand avoidance, namely, advertising avoidance, also occurs. Aspects of advertising that can contribute to brand avoidance include the content of the advertising, the use of a celebrity endorser and the music in the advertising, as well as the response to the advertising. This study thus proposes an expanded framework of brand avoidance.

Research limitations/implications

This study has found support for the existing types and reasons impacting brand avoidance but suggests that advertising may also impact brand avoidance. This is an aspect that requires further research.

Practical implications

For marketing managers, the findings suggest that not only can product experiences result in brand avoidance, but that advertising may be a further reason for this phenomenon.


While there has been a great deal of attention on the positive aspects of brands, research on the negative aspects has largely been ignored. Further, the identification of advertising as a reason for brand avoidance is also suggested.



Knittel, Z., Beurer, K. and Berndt, A. (2016), "Brand avoidance among Generation Y consumers", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 27-43.



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