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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Portal keys to and bleed from intensely-lived narrative brand extension

Published: May 28, 2019


Tom van Laer, Cass Business School, City University of London; Davide Orazi, Monash Business School, Monash University


ethnography; narrative brands; narrative transportation


Prior research on narrative consumption assumes that (a) story creation is the responsibility of other market actors; not consumers, and (b) the process of narrative consumption is inherently pleasurable. By observing that (1) consumers frequently interpret stories based on a pre-existing narrative brand yet constituting an extension of their own creation and (2) such narrative brand extension can distress consumers, our research challenges these assumptions and provides novel insights into narrative theory and consumer behaviour. First, we demonstrate the emergence of spatially embedded narrative worlds due to the presence of objects and other narrative cues that activate shared meanings. Second, we show how consumers actively embody story characters. Third, we unpack the widely used, emic term “bleed”, and reveal how consumers respond to and accommodate the fracturing finales of their own stories. As such, our research furthers scholarly understanding of the state-of-the-art of narrative consumption types: intensely-lived narrative brand extension.