‘There’s nothing wrong with the picture’: representations of diversity through cultural branding

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Media International Australia, 2019, 172 (1), pp. 89 - 102
Issue Date:
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© The Author(s) 2019. To attract consumers ever more distracted and dispersed, and achieve cultural resonance, brand advertisers increasingly speak to discourses of diversity. These representations are often contentious, particularly when they refer to certain aspects of contemporary identity politics. As these controversies play out on social media such as Facebook, they reveal key insights into branding today: the discursive volatility that shadows representations of diversity, asymmetries of communicative power between brands and consumers in online discussions and the extent to which representations of diversity are rendered more or less divisive depending on their proximity to already existing anxieties and/or resistance. This article contextualises this interplay through three Australian brand campaigns from late 2015 to early 2016 and shows how social media further problematise what was an already dynamic, tense and dialectical relationship between consumers and brands.
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