Brand backstories enable consumers the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of their favourite brands. This chapter explores the role of the brand backstory experience in…
Brand backstories enable consumers the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of their favourite brands. This chapter explores the role of the brand backstory experience in the consumer–brand relationship, detailing the manner in which these experiences are structured to immerse consumers within the brand storyworld.
A qualitative analysis of two brand backstory experiences, a museum exhibit documenting the television series Outrageous Fortune and a factory tour of snack foods brand Herr Food Inc. was carried out using in-depth interviews with backstory creators and observatory field notes of the backstory exhibit and tour.
This study reveals how temporal and spatial elements craft the overall architectonics of the brand backstory experience and how the brand backstory reveal progresses to ultimately unite consumers with the brands’ imagined and real families.
Originality/value of chapter
By illuminating the dynamism and evolution of brands and branding practices, this chapter offers exploratory insights into a scarcely explored aspect of the brand experience.
Purpose – Hybrid reality television, a burgeoning subgenre spawning from the reality television genre, distinguishes itself from its parent genre through dramatizations…
Purpose – Hybrid reality television, a burgeoning subgenre spawning from the reality television genre, distinguishes itself from its parent genre through dramatizations that have been described as presenting a “quasi-reality” that is disorientating for the viewer (Caramanica, 2010). In addition to blurring the lines between fact and fiction, hybrid reality programs blur the lines between product placement and entertainment as products are seamlessly blended into the depicted lifestyles. This research explores how consumers negotiate hybrid reality television programs and how this process transpires in viewers' reactions to the consumption portrayals within the programs.
Methodology/approach – Insights were sought from qualitative in-depth interviews with avid viewers of an archetype of the hybrid reality subgenre, the MTV program The Hills.
Findings – The findings reveal varying degrees of self-reflexive consciousness, reflecting viewers' critical awareness of the rhetoric of the program, the artifices of the hybrid reality genre, and their role as an audience. Self-reflexive consciousness facilitates a critical response toward the text in which viewers recognize the artifices of the genre and thus regard the program as “real” and “not real” and simultaneously worth and worthless viewing at the same time, in a textual strategy, we refer to as ironic (dis)engagement.
Originality/value of the chapter – On the basis of this body of data, a typology of viewer responses to hybrid reality programs emerges with corresponding consumption strategies as viewers negotiate the consumption portrayals within The Hills. These findings suggest that viewers embrace product placement within the subgenre and that the program has pioneered and opened up new horizons for lifestyle branding practices within television programming.